Hyderus undertakes healthcare research in Argentina

Hyderus was recently commissioned to undertake research into the market for innovative oncology products in Argentina, which is an emerging country in terms of its healthcare status on the world stage.  An in-depth research project was undertaken, which looked at the Argentine health system, population with and without coverage and public and private institutions.  The project also included patient access programmes to various drugs, and information on the oncology products themselves, including their availability, pricing and licensing.  We also look at reimbursement, and the percentage of the population covered by private insurance. The research undertaken by the company was very well-received in terms of the questions it raised regarding the development of oncology within emerging markets.  

Our special link with Argentina

When we take a wider look at Argentina and its history, we can find a strong link emerging between Wales and an area of Argentina, known as Patagonia which is located at the southern end of South America.  Patagonia is Argentinian for the most part, while some of its regions belong to Chile.

What on earth has this got to do with Hyderus, apart from the market research we conducted there, you might be thinking?  Well, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that Hyderus is, indeed, a Welsh company which conducts some of its business in Welsh.   More importantly, we are based in the heart of Wales and enjoy celebrating our Welshness, now more than ever.  A bit of background to our Welsh forefathers in Patagonia would be useful here to explain our special link.

Our forefathers in search of a promised land

On May 30th 2015, a memorial plinth was unveiled on Liverpool’s famous waterfront to mark the voyage of the Mimosa, which left Liverpool for Patagonia, in Southern Argentina,  on May 28th, 1865.    Indeed, the anniversary of the sailing of the Mimosa has  been celebrated all over Wales, and in Patagonia because it was a very large group of Welsh men and women who undertook to sail halfway around the world in search of a better life.

The Industrial Revolution in Wales, although very much welcomed by many,  witnessed the gradual disappearance of rural communities leading to the disillusionment of a large number of people who wished to preserve their language, culture and heritage.  Indeed, many wished to escape their homeland and seek their fortune in the New World in such places as Utica in New York State and in Pennsylvania.  However, it was Patagonia in southern Argentina which seemed to offer everything the Welsh wanted. In 1861, at a meeting of local men in Bala at the home of one Michael D. Jones, it was decided that preparations be made for a large-scale emigration to the other side of the world where the Welsh language, culture and traditions could be preserved. “Llawlyfr y Wladfa”, a handbook of the area, was widely distributed to publicise the scheme.  

Making a new life in Patagonia

The first group of settlers, some 200 people, gathered from all over Wales and sailed from Liverpool in late May 1865 aboard the tea-clipper Mimosa in their quest to reach their promised land. However, on arrival in Patagonia on 27th July, the settlers discovered that their destination was not the friendly and inviting land they had been expecting, finding it barren and inhospitable – not green and fertile as they had been led to believe. In spite of help given them by the indigenous Teheulche Indians, the colony looked doomed to failure due to lack of food and other resources.  However, due to the determination of the settlers and generous supply missions, they struggled on to reach the site for the colony in the Chubut valley some 40 miles away.  Floods and poor harvest made it difficult to bring in new supplies, however.  

It was the development of irrigation systems and water management which ultimately saved the region from the failure of its early years.  More farms started to emerge, resulting in more settlers arriving from a depression-hit South Wales mining industry

and the Chubut Valley settlement began to grow.  The settlers had effectively transformed the semi-desert of the valley into a lush and fertile land.  The settlers had achieved their goal with Welsh speaking schools and chapels – even the language of local government was Welsh.

The fertile land also attracted settlers of other nationalities which had a negative effect on the Welsh identity of the settlement.  The Argentine government also stepped in to impose direct rule over the land and consequently helped in bringing the speaking of Welsh in schools and at local government level to an end.

Welsh continued to remain the language of the home and chapels however, and in spite of the Spanish-only education system, Welsh lived on in the tea-houses, the eisteddfodau and chapels.  The ban on giving children Welsh names, introduced by the military dictatorship in power during the years 1976 to 1983, did not help the Welsh and had a negative effect on the status of Welsh culture.  

There has been a resurgence in popularity of Welsh culture and traditions in Patagonia in recent times, however,  and new research suggests that the Welsh language and identity in Patagonia is stronger now than during the earlier part of the twentieth century. Such a resurgence has witnessed the foundation of Ysgol Trelew – a bi-lingual Welsh/Spanish school and  the restoration of the Eisteddfod in 1965 to mark the region’s centenary. The  Welsh Language Project was set up in 1997 and,  backed by the British Council and the Assembly Government, sends three teachers to the colony for 12 months at a time to teach Welsh.  Research has also found that, in the Welsh area of Patagonia, there is still very high regard for the Welsh culture and identity in the area.