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A Mother Can Now Hope for Her Child

  • April 18, 2023
  • Clinical Services, Health Care Providers, Mother and Child Health
  • El Salvador
  • Dr. Gutierrez poses with Yenny's family during a routine checkup at the Americares clinic in Santiago de Maria, El Salvador in January of 2023. (Photo/Jeff Kennel)

“That was my fear, that he would not reach the age of two.”


When Yenny delivered her son, Edvin*, at a hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador, in March of 2020, she was scared.  Not only was her son born prematurely, but El Salvador was at the beginning of a strict 3-month lockdown for COVID-19.  And as a 25-year-old single mother, she was alone and fighting for Edvin’s survival. 

For 40 days, Edvin stayed at the Hospital, a two-hour drive from their home in Santiago de Maria. Born at only 31 weeks, he stayed on a ventilator for 14 days. He also had problems with eating.

When she was finally able to bring the tiny infant home, Yenny discovered her little boy could be cared for nearby, at La Clínica Integral de Atención Familiar (CIAF), Americares clinic in rural Usulután. She had never been there before, but she made an appointment.

A fisheye lens view of part of the Americares family clinic in El Salvador. The building is green with cars parked on either side.
A view of part of the Americares Clinic in El Salvador

From that first appointment, the clinic and Americares pediatrician Dr. Helene Gutierrez provided a level of quality care that started with hard news; Edvin had hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid around the brain, along with other related conditions that might have been detected if she been able to access prenatal care with regular ultrasounds offered by the family clinic.

Over the next two years, Edvin had to go back and forth to a children’s hospital in San Salvador many times for treatment of the hydrocephalus and other complications. Yenny describes this time as “a horrible experience” Yenny watched in fear as other babies at the hospital didn’t make it.

When did she begin to have hope for Edvin? She remembers, “The doctors said that if he reached the age of two, he was mine. But it was possible that he would die before then. Out of all the children that were operated on around the same time, three of them died. That was my fear, that he would not reach the age of two.”

Doctor in blue medical gown and mask with back to us holds stethoscope to toddler in red who is standing with both hands on his head. His mother on the right side holds onto her son with her right arm
Dr. Gutierrez examines Yenny’s son at a routine checkup at the Americares clinic in Santiago de Maria, El Salvador in January. (Photo/Jeff Kennel)

Edvin had his third birthday in March and now Dr. Gutierrez manages care for Edvin, and Yenny sees her son heal and thrive. At the clinic, the curious 3-year-old sees a neurologist, an orthopedist, an ophthalmologist and the speech and physical therapy team.

The doctor in blue medical garb with mask holds stethoscope to toddler's back. The boy in red points at a donkey in a mural on the wall. His mother in black mask and salmon top watches. them.
Dr. Gutierrez continues her checkup of Yenny’s son at the Americares clinic in Santiago de Maria, El Salvador in January. (Photo/Jeff Kennel)

Dr. Gutierrez points to Edvin’s progress in overcoming his health challenges, ”the hydrocephalus left behind psychomotor effects so he is in physical therapy with us ,and because he also has motion problems, he uses an orthopedic device to help him walk. “

Edvin is one of nearly 30,000 patients who receive care at Americares family clinic every year. Since its founding in 2003, the Americares clinic in El Salvador has grown to provide not only high-quality primary care, but also specialty care including pediatrics, neurology, ophthalmology, physical therapy, gynecology, obstetrics and other vital services.

Yenny says that if she didn’t have the Americares clinic nearby, she would have difficulty taking Edvin to all the appointments he needs. The specialists would be too far away or too expensive. She shines with hope for her little boy: “With God’s help, he will get ahead in life…and have a normal life.”

*name changed for privacy

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