Home Institution

Kenyon College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments


In recent years, maternal mortality has continued to be a problem in Argentina. Even after the passage of the United Nations Millennium Goals, Argentina continued to have maternal mortality rates three times as high as its’ neighbors, Chile and Uruguay. Although the majority of the literature does not demonstrate a connection between prenatal care and the reduction of maternal mortality, in situations of high mortality, there is consensus surrounding the need for contact and communication between the woman and their doctors during their pregnancy. This study attempted to examine how both doctors and patients see this communication and how, if there are areas for improvement, they can each change their communication strategies. This study took place at the Hospital General de Agudos Dr. Teodoro Alvarez in the neighborhood of Flores in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This study was based on interviews with pregnant patients and their doctors during their prenatal care at Hospital Alvarez. 15women between the ages of 17 and 37 were interviewed regarding their expectations surrounding their communication with their doctor during their prenatal care. Similarly, 5 doctors were interviewed regarding their expectations surrounding communication with their patients while providing prenatal care. They provided information on the two different sides of the same doctor-patient relationship, shedding light on the opinions and expectations of both sides. Also, secondary sources were utilized to build a theoretical framework for interpreting and evaluating the interviews.

In this study, the majority of the information provided by the doctors and the patients surrounding doctor-patient communication was the same. Both the doctors and the patients agreed that they felt that they had very good communication as well as many of the smaller details of prenatal care. However, in Hospital Alvarez, the internal and external barriers, such as cultural, financial and educational challenges, prevent the women from accessing prenatal information and the doctors from clearly delivering information. This, in turn, affects the ability to have optimal communication in the doctor-patient relationship.


Maternal and Child Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Women's Health


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