MSF closed our last projects in El Salvador in 2021.
Violence between rival gangs and their clashes with security forces means people struggle to access healthcare.
MSF previously worked in the capital, San Salvador, and the nearby city of Soyapango. Our teams also responded to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
In 2021, we handed over our projects in El Salvador, having reached our objective of strengthening access to healthcare for communities affected by violence.
Since March 2018, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) had been providing free medical care to 11 marginalised communities in the capital, San Salvador, and the nearby city of Soyapango, through weekly clinics. A remote consultation service was subsequently added to the programme. MSF collaborated with local health units, which will ensure continuity of care for these communities after our departure.
In the same year, MSF began running an ambulance service in collaboration with SEM – a national ambulance service. We initially covered the municipality of Soyapango and then extended the service to Ilopango in June 2019. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we started to cover the municipalities of San Martín, Tonacatepeque and Ciudad Delgado as well, to relieve pressure on SEM. More than 6,390 patients benefited from this 24-hour ambulance service, and SEM has confirmed that it will continue to operate after our withdrawal.
MSF regularly supported the Salvadoran Institute for the Development of Women with training on sexual violence, and worked to raise awareness of the need to treat it as a medical emergency. In addition, our staff assisted people who were victims of violence and in need of protection. Moving forward, MSF believes that public institutions need to adopt policies that prioritise medical care and protection for victims of violence.