This thesis explores a three month period that I spent abroad working in medical clinics and hospitals in Ecuador. My work was conducted in three distinct areas: the urban landscape of Quito, Ecuador’s capital; Puyo, a small town bordering the Amazonian rainforest; and a small community located in the heart of the jungle. Within each site, I explored—through the use of a series of narrative pieces—a primary healthcare challenge that was unique to the area. In Quito, this challenge is chiefly financial. While Puyo faces financial burdens as well, it also encounters an array of tropical medicine cases, many of which are extremely difficult to prevent and treat. In the jungle community, I witnessed firsthand just how difficult it is to promote quality healthcare in an area where road access is almost unheard of.
Through the use of narrative and reflection in this thesis, I was able to explore both the healthcare system in Ecuador and my personal experience in the country. This project has helped me grow as a student, a potential healthcare professional, and as a person. I hope that it can also serve to inform others of the real challenges faced in Ecuadorian healthcare today.
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