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Americares Expands COVID-19 Response in El Salvador

  • September 23, 2020

Stamford, Conn.Sept. 23, 2020 – Americares, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is expanding COVID-19 screening, public health education and telehealth services in El Salvador.

Americares operates the largest outpatient health facility in Eastern El Salvador and is the only charitable health center in the region to continue providing primary care services during the pandemic. The Clínica Integral de Atención Familiar in the department of Usulután provides over 80,000 medical consultations annually and provides health education and prevention programs for thousands of low-income families throughout the region.

A patient with respiratory symptoms is examined at the Americares Family Clinic in Santiago de Maria as part of Americares expanded COVID-19 response supported by USAID. Photo courtesy of Americares.
A patient with respiratory symptoms is examined at the Americares Family Clinic in Santiago de Maria as part of Americares expanded COVID-19 response supported by USAID. Photo courtesy of Americares.

With support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, Americares is increasing COVID-19 screenings, referrals for testing and COVID-19 case management and telehealth consults for patients with non-communicable diseases and mental health needs. In addition, Americares is leading infection-prevention trainings for 10 public health facilities in Usulután and La Libertad and hiring community health workers to provide health education and install handwashing stations to reduce the risk of transmission in local communities. An estimated 200,000 Salvadorans are expected to benefit from the expanded health services and sanitation improvements by the end of the year.

“El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Central America and struggling with the economic impact of the pandemic and an under-resourced health system,” said Dr. Gabriela Salvador, who oversees Americares health programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. “The health system needs support to handle the surge in patients. This project will expand health system capacity for low-income families throughout the eastern region.”

Across El Salvador more than 27,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus and over 800 deaths have been recorded, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Americares has been supporting the health sector in El Salvador since 1984 by assisting a network of hospitals, clinics and social service agencies throughout the country. Americares also operates its largest health clinic in El Salvador. Built in 2003 as part of USAID’s recovery programs for the 2001 earthquakes, the Clínica Integral de Atención Familiar is a lifeline for tens of thousands of patients from eight departments who depend on the clinic for high-quality, low-cost health services. The clinic offers comprehensive health services, including internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, mental health, radiology, dentistry and more, as well as subsidized health services for more than 1,500 ultra-poor community members annually. In addition, Americares has a long history of responding to earthquakes, major storms, landslides and other emergencies throughout the country and has programming in disaster risk reduction, supply chain management and non-communicable disease prevention.

Americares is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in more than 20 countries. Worldwide, Americares has delivered more than 260 tons of infection-control supplies including masks, gowns and disinfectants to combat the spread of the virus. In addition, Americares is training thousands of health workers in infection prevention and control, disaster preparedness and mental health and psychosocial support.

Americares responds to approximately 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establishes long-term recovery projects and brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities. Since its founding more than 40 years ago, Americares has provided more than $18 billion in aid to 164 countries, including the United States.