Malnutrition and preventable disease in El Salvador
In El Salvador, children under the age of 5 suffer from a high incidence of infectious diseases and malnutrition (28 percent in rural areas). Despite advances in medical technology, these statistics have remained high for more than 50 years. Additionally, increased life expectancy has led to a rise in chronically degenerative diseases in old age. Even though people are living longer, their quality of life is declining because they do not have access to proper health care.
El Salvador’s National Commission of Health reports that the most marginalized sections of the population have difficulty accessing primary and specialty health care services. Poverty coupled with the high cost of services and a lack of health care providers has made access difficult for many. Specialty services including dermatology, dental hygiene, ophthalmology and cardiology are some areas that often remain untreated.
Our work in El Salvador
We sent our first team to El Salvador in 1986 and returned 15 years later to provide medical care to earthquake victims near San Salvador. Since 2001, we have shipped 11 containers of medical supplies and sent 50 volunteer teams. These volunteer medical professionals have provided dental, nutrition, pediatric, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training, disaster response, midwifery, internal medicine, dermatology, rehabilitation therapy and ophthalmology care.
Plans for 2012-2013
Medical Teams International is deploying four volunteer medical teams this fiscal year. These teams will provide:
- Pediatric/Nutrition medical services to at-risk children from birth to age six living in rural El Salvador through our partner's "Sprouts of Hope" program.
- Eye surgery for patients blinded by cataracts, strabismus and pterigiums.
- Medical services to people in rural communities in Santa Ana, El Salvador.
Our partners in El Salvador
A Salvadoran doctor established Asociacion Salvadorena Pro-Salud Rural (ASAPROSAR) in 1985 to provide health care for the marginalized members of society—children, adolescents and women. Located in Santa Ana, ASAPROSAR specializes in rural health care work and preventative care. The organization selects and teaches health promoters to work in local villages. ASAPROSAR currently serves 80,000 people with minimal staff and the assistance of hundreds of volunteers.
Each volunteer health promoter works with approximately 50 families. These men and women get to the know families, visit them monthly and guide mothers through pregnancy. Using basic measures like height, weight and other physical changes, the health promoters watch for the warning signs of a problematic pregnancy and pass those cases to a doctor. They also reinforce the importance of hospital delivery.
ASCRIDIFAM is a Christian, Salvadorian organization that implements community based approaches to bring hope to rural communities in the department of Santa Ana, El Salvador. ASCRIDIFAM also mobilizes local volunteers from local churches to offer a diversity of social and health services to people living in poverty. In collaboration with MTI, ASCRIDIFAM has also distributed donated medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to support the work of other humanitarian groups in the area as well as local clinics and hospitals.
Please donate or volunteer to help save lives in El Salvador.