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2.1 Million Salvadorans to Access Better Quality Health Care Services

July 21, 2011

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2011 – 2.1 million Salvadorans living in the 92 poorest municipalities will have access to better quality health care services as a result of a US$80 million project approved on Thursday by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.

The initiative will increase service coverage, their quality and programs within the Comprehensive and Integrated Health Care Services Network (RIISS, in Spanish). Furthermore, it finances investments in medical equipment, infrastructure rehabilitation and strengthening of institutional capacities to provide medical and emergency services.

El Salvador’s “Strengthening the Public Health Care System” project will be executed by the Health Ministry (MINSAL, in Spanish) in four years and is aligned to MINSAL’s National Health Strategy (2009-2014), which seeks to guarantee universal health care coverage, prioritizing good quality primary health care in vulnerable and marginalized populations.

This project supports the implementation of the Comprehensive Primary Health Care strategy by:

  • Acquiring medical equipment;
  • Maintaining and rehabilitating facilities;
  • Improving the provision of priority public health care programs (maternal health, reproductive and sexual health, teen pregnancies, child health, control of dengue fever, and chronic kidney diseases).

The project seeks the ambitious goal of helping health clinics to resolve 80 percent of patient needs at the first doctor appointment or at point of intake at health facilities.

“The priority for Mauricio Funes’ administration has been to guarantee the right to health for all Salvadorans, it has therefore pushed for reform of the public health care sector to provide affordable, free and good quality services,” said Health Minister María Isabel Rodríguez. “This project will help us expand the coverage, quality and equity of priority health care services, improving our citizens’ quality of life.”

This project contributes to the implementation of the Medical Emergency System (SEM) in 16 hospitals by improving the level of coordination between the national hospital system and other entities such as MINSAL, the Salvadoran Social Security Institute (ISSS), the National Defense Ministry, the National Police, the Health Solidarity Fund (FOSALUD) and the Red Cross.

It will also create a national emergency call system, improve the ambulance fleet and CPR equipment, provide training for medical and paramedical staff in medical emergency management and strengthen the response system to medical emergencies at the community level.

In order to provide quick financial assistance in case of a public health emergency, the project includes stand-by funds to help the government during the immediate response after natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, floods or droughts, or during outbreaks of dengue fever, influenza and others. These stand-by funds will be available during the first three years of the implementation phase, in case an official National Emergency is declared.

“This project supports various goals of the administration’s Five-Year Development Plan in order to improve the health and well being of the Salvadoran population. It will expand access to health services for those living in poverty and remote regions, strengthen the public health care system and support the Health Ministry prepare for emergencies,” said Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Director for Central America.

Another component of this project seeks to improve MINSAL’s management capacity by improving the Single Health Information System (SUIS), supporting training and research activities at the National Health Institute and Central Laboratory and the implementation of a national medicine policy aimed at increasing the quality, efficiency and security of access and the rational use of medicines, as well as improving the transparency of acquisitions.

The US$80 million loan for El Salvador’s “Strengthening the Public Health Care System” project has a 30-year maturity period and a 5-year grace period.


Media Contacts
In Washington D.C.
Ricardo Vargas
Tel : (202) 458-0777
In Central America
César León
Tel : (502) 2329-8000