|Me in front of the main entrance of the forests of the INBio Institute in Costa Rica.|
|Julie gets some goods.|
From there, we headed to the INBio Institute, a gigantic nature preserve that has over half a million different species. There, we gained considerable perspective on the biodiversity of the country, and were introduced to the ideas of how biodiversity and the pharmaceutical companies interact. It was a great experience, though fewer of my photos turned out than I had hoped. There's something to be said about the limitations of using a cell phone's camera when trying to photograph nature in varying lighting conditions...
Panoramas will follow the bulk of this post!
After the INBio tour, we headed to a conference held with Dra. Sissy Castillo, the Vice Minister of Health of Costa Rica, and Dr. Rolando Araya-Monge, a former member of the Costa Rican Parliament and founder of the political party, "Alianza Patriotica." Though the talk was a little more scripted than I had anticipated, I appreciated the fact that they gave students an opportunity to ask questions directly to the Vice Minister of Health. Many of the questions that we asked weren't able to be answered directly ("Why aren't physicians employed in the public sector required to sign a non-compete agreement that prohibits them from simultaneously working in the private sector?" and "What is being done to reduce the long wait times that many patients experience in the public health care system?" being just a couple of the questions asked), but that is probably because the answers would be both fairly involved and very politically charged. It was interesting to be able to stick our noses so directly into the situation of Costa Rica's health care system, but it was also important to remember that we are only just learning about this problem, and it is the life's work of these people to figure out how to make this system function the best possible for the Ticos. There's no way we can possibly learn everything about the system, let alone understand everything necessary to enact any sort of effective change. Here is a terrible, digitally-zoomed photo of the participants of the conference:
|Dr. Mario Tristan (left), Dra. Sissy Castillo (center), and Dr. Rolando Araya-Monge (right)|
Med students outside another of the hospitals from this week.