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AmeriCares Assists Needy in El Salvador, Guatemala

  • January 15, 2003

New Canaan, CT, January 15 2003 – Two AmeriCares initiatives are under way in Latin America to benefit the poor in El Salvador and Guatemala. Both are financed by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

A mother-and-child clinic in is under construction in eastern El Salvador to serve a population of 120,000. April is the target for completion of the 9,000 square foot building in Santiago de Maria, two hours by car east of San Salvador. A staff of 20 is to include three doctors, a psychologist, a social worker and a dentist.

The project is to operate in association with a longtime AmeriCares partner, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), a Catholic lay organization that now runs 12 similar clinics in the country. To reduce El Salvador’s high rate of maternal mortality at childbirth, Christoph Gorder, the AmeriCares project director, said “a strong program for effective prenatal care is essential for the area.”

The focus of the project in Guatemala is to expand primary health care to a high-risk Mayan population in the highlands. The objective is to train non-government health providers and community leaders, especially in early detection of childhood diseases. Celina de Sola, the AmeriCares project director, is working through John Snow Research and Training Institute, a Boston-based nonprofit established in 1978 to provide technical and management assistance globally in public health areas. “Pro Redes Salud,” as the Guatemalan project is called, extends through 2004.

In addition, AmeriCares has been delivering at least one sea container of medicine and supplies monthly for distribution through the Order of Malta.

Established in 1982, AmeriCares has delivered more than $2.7 billion in humanitarian aid and emergency assistance to 137 countries, including the U.S. Latin America is the largest beneficiary of AmeriCares relief. Since 1982, El Salvador and Guatemala alone have received 15.7 million pounds of assistance.