El Salvador Project Reports Numerous Accomplishments before Closing

Noting that “the project has worked to ensure that its counterparts have the technical capacity for sustaining [its] interventions,” the US Agency for International Development (USAIDHealth Care Improvement Project (HCI) closed down its 30-month project in El Salvador in 2012 with the hope “that efforts to reduce inequities and progressively improve the health of the Salvadoran population may continue.”

The project focused on maternal, newborn and child health with a view toward helping the country achieve its Millennium Development Goals in that health area and sustainably establishing improvements to its health systems. Targeted were hospital services related to maternal, obstetric, postpartum, and newborn care; family planning; and the prevention and control of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections. In addition, the project worked at the regional level to improve supervision of hospital-provided primary care relative to the targeted services.

The project can boast several achievements. Importantly, all 30 participating hospitals plan to continue monitoring the indicators established during the project. The indicators measure compliance with standards for care that were agreed upon by government agencies. With regard to compliance at the time of project closure, hospitals reported that compliance with:

  • Family planning standards rose from about 60% to over 90%;
  • Standards for prenatal care, delivery care, and obstetric complications care rose from about 65% to over 90%;
  • Postpartum care standards rose from 40% to over 95%; and
  • Additional improvements occurred in compliance with standards for newborn care, infection prevention, waste control, and water quality.

In other broad-based work, the project supported the use of data from the National Family and Health Survey to enhance the development of work plans created and followed by various institutions involved in the management of health services, the promotion of education, the development of women, and scientific associations.

The project introduced the Kangaroo Mother Care strategy at El Salvador’s three main hospitals, leading to rapid weight gain for infants and shorter hospital stays for low birth weight babies. It also introduced the Helping Babies Breathe strategy, training and equipping 65 facilitators and 100 community health teams. The project also promoted referrals and counter-referrals so that people receiving care from one health care provider would receive appropriate follow-up care at the next.

In addition, HCI staff supported background studies for hospital accreditation and delivered a proposal relative to hospital permits and licenses. It also recommended a way that would enable USAID to respond to emergencies in the country.

January 29, 2013