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Santiago de María, El Salvador, November 18 2004 – The AmeriCares Clínica Integral de Atención Familiar is celebrating its first anniversary today, marking one year of providing quality health care services to underserved families.More than 7,000 patients have been treated at clinic since the its November 2003 opening, and the number of patients using its services has soared. In its first month, the clinic treated 66 patients; today, the number of patient visits averages about 1,800 every month and, to keep pace with the demand, new Saturday hours have just been implemented. The AmeriCares Family Clinic’s team of dedicated professionals offers patients a wide range of high-quality medical services including general medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, dentistry, clinical laboratory, ultrasound, X-ray & mammogram, and pharmacy services.
“Direct attention to our patients is our first priority,” says Dr. Anibal Quijano, the clinic’s medical director. “In addition to the almost 24,000 procedures that we have performed, we have also founded prevention and outreach programs here in Santiago de María.”
The Clínica Integral de Atención Familiar opened under an agreement between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and AmeriCares, the international nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid agency based in the United States, as part of USAID’s Earthquake Recovery Program. Under this agreement, the clinic was jointly funded by both organizations through September 30, 2004. With the successful completion of this one-year term, AmeriCares has now assumed all operating responsibility for the clinic. In addition to the affordable fees for service paid by the patients it serves, the clinic will be supported through donations from individuals, corporations and foundations in El Salvador and the United States.
“The clinic’s business model allows each patient to pay what they can, but regardless of how much they pay, each patient receives the same level of professional, compassionate care,” says Dr. Magdalena Serpa, director of targeted initiatives for AmeriCares. “We stress efficiency and respect for the patients above all.”
The clinic’s medical staff also conducts community outreach activities for local schools where children, parents and teachers are taught how they can live healthier lives. They have introduced courses on countering domestic violence as well as the problems facing adolescents, and have talked about oral hygiene with the students. Another important health promotion and disease prevention initiative helps diabetics learn how to manage their condition through a support group that meets every two weeks.
Training seminars for health care professionals from the eastern region of El Salvador are regularly offered at the AmeriCares Family Clinic by Salvadoran and North American experts in a diverse range of relevant fields, such as HIV/AIDS prevention, diabetes management, and early detection of breast and cervical cancers. In addition, the clinic’s diagnostic laboratory is moving forward in its goal to become a regional laboratory for the smaller, local health care facilities.
***AmeriCares is a nonprofit international disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization, which provides immediate response to emergency medical needs and supports long-term humanitarian assistance programs around the world. Since it was established in 1982, AmeriCares has distributed more than $4 billion in humanitarian aid to 137 countries. AmeriCares has been given a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the highest possible rating, indicating effective management practices. For every $100 donated, more than $3,000 of aid is delivered.