Health problems increase in El Salvador

from World Vision
Published on 19 Jun 2001
By Katia Maldonado
SAN SALVADOR. The onset of winter in El Salvador has seen an increase in respiratory tract infections and gastro-intestinal disorders. Last week, (June 15) the Ministry of Public Health declared that cases of diarrhea are now among the most common complaints during hospital check ups. Those most affected are children and those made homeless by this year's two devastating earthquakes.

Shelters set up to assist the tens of thousands made homeless by the earthquakes are seen as a strong breeding ground for the epidemic. This is the case in the shelter located to the South of the capital city where 524 families live. According to the shelter's inhabitants, the bacteria that causes the diarrhea comes from different sources, including insects and flies, and the water they drink which is brought every day by truck. Inhabitants report the water has a bad odor and is of a yellowish color.

In response to the crisis, World Vision medical staff are currently developing a preventative health program. World Vision health workers and volunteers have been trained on how to treat cases of diarrhea and are conducting educational talks on how to handle cases of diarrhea, prepare oral salts and on food handling and hygiene.

In other news, last week El Salvador experienced a new chain of earth tremors, in the Department of Usulután. No serious injuries or damages were reported. However, the Departmental Emergency Committee declared a yellow alert, fearing new tremors may cause landslides in hills already damaged by the previous earthquakes. Lasting a total of 45 minutes, the six tremors measured an average intensity of 3.4 on the Richter scale. The tremor of the highest magnitude was of 4.3 on the Richter scale.