It is difficult to write about that great statesman, socialist politician and doctor, an integral man who was – and will continue to be in the memory of his people – Salvador Allende Gossens. Yes, because his figure goes beyond the full scope of words, on the one hand; and, on the other hand, a great deal has been written and is written about his figure, not always in a substantial way – it must be said – but appealing to recurring topics or to the many clichés with which he is remembered, either by his enthusiastic admirers or by its opposing hills, and even sick enemies.
In the midst of this sanitary and socioeconomic disaster to which the current neoliberal government that administers our version of “savage capitalism” has led us, hand in hand with the self-appointed political caste as “Left”, resurfaces and agitates, with no changes in sight. structural, the serious and urgent question of opting for Social Medicine, disarticulating and replacing the long-running business of “private health”, entrenched in our society as a system that involves state health policies, through a perverse network where the State endorses and supports aberrations such as the Isapres and the hotel-clinics, even subsidizing hospital facilities of powerful, exclusive and discriminatory institutions that deepen the fracture of classes and privileges.
Yes, reading friend, reading friend, let us remember the extraordinary facet of Doctor Allende as a social doctor. Could there be something more current today in this gray, quartered and fearful nation in which we live?
Joan Garcés (1944), Law Degree from the Complutense University of Madrid, Spanish writer and essayist, points out, in the prologue of the reissue of the “Thesis to apply for the title of Surgeon of the University of Chile”, from the year 1933 , grade memory of Salvador Allende Gossens, which we extract below:
“The reading of the full text of the unpublished university memory of Salvador Allende G., of 156 pages in its original typewriter, reveals an additional link of coherence that characterizes the thought and works of its author: humanism, social progress and cultural, development of political and economic democracy ”.
And later, Joan Garcés says:
“Being Minister of Health in the Popular Front Government (1938), chaired by Don Pedro Aguirre Cerda, Doctor Allende Gossens put into practice innovative health policies, with long-standing projections over time. In the interview that the newspaper La Nación did on Thursday, November 16, 1939 …, the priority that Allende gives to care services for mothers, particularly single women, emerges; to the kids; to compulsory schooling; to hygiene in the home; to the fight against venereal diseases, alcohol and drug addiction. Concerns that translated into concrete achievements during his Ministry and, later, in the numerous legislative initiatives that he presented from his seat in the Senate, until 1970, and from the Presidency of the Republic, until 1973 ”.
And when he was Minister of Health (Health), in the government of don Pedro Aguirre Cerda, Salvador Allende published a book whose essence remains to this day, even though the figures it contains are out of date due to the great population growth that Chile has experienced . But the philosophical basis is the same, the search for a health system that overcomes the odious barriers of economic and social discrimination.
87 years have elapsed since that title memory of the then young doctor Salvador Allende, 81 of the publication of The Chilean Medical-Social Reality, in whose pages we re-read and listen to what becomes fully binding today:
Man in society is not an abstract entity: he is born, he develops, he lives, he works, he reproduces, he falls ill and he dies, in strict subjection to the environment that surrounds him, whose different modalities originate different ways of reacting, facing the producing agents of diseases.
This condition-environment is determined by salary, food, housing, clothing, culture and other specific and acting factors; guides the analysis of our medical problems and chairs the program of this Ministry.
Let us now examine, in light of the statistics, the reliefs and frequencies of the great Chilean medical problems and the most relevant morbidity and mortality rates, so that we can obtain their ranking in relation to their role in the production of our morbidity and mortality.
Dr. Beatriz Bueno Espíndola, President -then- of the Society of Administrators in Medical and Hospital Care, publishes, in the January-March 1999 edition, an accurate comment on this work by Doctor Salvador Allende, as Reflections to 60 years of your publication. We extract three of the most significant paragraphs of the article:
“… In the extensive analysis of the medical-social reality of that time we can see how the analysis of the health situation becomes one of the fields where Public Health can and should play a preponderant role, since it allows precise identification and timely of the most affected sectors of the population, the causes and the nature of the risks that may be observed in a population, therefore constituting an essential and fundamental element for decision-making and for evaluating the impact of those decisions.
“In this view of the Health Situation it shows us, through the analysis of the working class, how the study of inequalities becomes a basic component of the analysis of the health situation, since, without a doubt, the Equity is and should continue to be one of the fundamental values of Public Health interventions, and that it should also be an essential component of social policies, with the aim of achieving the integration of the entire population into economic development, thus opening new opportunities and taking advantage of the capacities, potentials and efforts of each person and their family.
In summary, reiterating the valuable contribution and contributions made by Doctor Salvador Allende to the Public Health of our country, the Document of the Chilean Medical-Social Reality 1939 is a call to Creativity and Innovation, and to face together, with a country perspective and with a state policy, the problems and challenges that our sector must face, facing the next millennium, with the active participation of all actors, both in the public and private sectors, without political or ideological distinctions, having as a basis that the main capital of a Nation is PEOPLE ”.
Sixty years before the correct reflections of Doctor Beatriz Bueno, Doctor Salvador Allende synthesizes, as the visionary politician that he was, the core of our painful socioeconomic reality, whose escalating conflicts could not be hidden or disguised by disastrous State policies, always for the benefit of a ruling class that, in the 21st century, still does not understand the evolution of history, entrenched in their possessions, responding to the demands of the great majority with advertising fallacies and increasing repression.
The formidable rise of industrialism, the progress of science, the advances made within the field of hygiene and medicine, the benefits of the cultural heritage, have been practically forbidden to the great mass of Chileans, which is ultimately the forger of public wealth.
Until a few years ago, our national economy was exclusively dependent on two or three export products, mainly saltpeter and copper, which were the main sources of entry for the State; extractive industries that have not been exploited by Chilean capital since they have always been in the hands of foreign companies and at the mercy of the interests of international economic imperialism. On the contrary, agriculture and manufacturing industries have developed in routine and empiricism, due to the unpredictability of past regimes, to the conservative sense of almost the majority of the country’s rulers, since the progress of the technique has not he had managed to infiltrate the fields and industry in a large scale. Our farmers continued the cultivation of those easy-to-market products that the first settlers started, wasting a large amount of arable land, exploiting more man than land, lacking a Social Medicine system.
Merchants of the Health, turned circumstantial ministers and statistical spokesmen of the death, will have known and read this memory of degree that seems written today by the lucid and eloquent hand of our unforgettable companion Salvador Allende?