Health Disparities
El Salvador’s Epidemic: Investigating the Impact of Violence on the Salvadoran Healthcare System
( Family Science Undergraduate Student)
Gonzalez, Samantha (Family Science), Jones, Marian Moser (Family Science), Gonzalez, Samantha
Introduction: In most developing countries, the end of a civil war signifies the beginnings of recreation and prosperity. In some cases, that country continues to spiral into chaos and violence. This has been the case with El Salvador, the small Latin American country that as of 2015 was named the most violent country in the world not at war. This violence has reached epidemic levels and has thrown the population's health into disarray. Research objective and population studied: This study aims to reach an understanding as to how this violence has shifted the epidemiological profile of the country through the perspective of Salvadorian healthcare professionals who have witnessed firsthand the effects violence can have on a nation's overall health. Through interviews of Salvadorian healthcare professionals, this research aims to understand how violence can affect the overall health of the Salvadorian population and document the different culture aspects in processing the stress related within living in nation inundated in violence. Approach: This study involves in-depth qualitative interviews with a small sample (5) Salvadoran health care workers or former health care workers living in the United States. Snowball sampling is used. Principal findings and conclusions: The ongoing violence appears to be sending the Salvadoran health care system into crisis mode and compromising delivery of non-emergency services. Public Health Significance: This preliminary study points to the need to consider the impact of violence on health care delivery in developing countries. It also contains implications for policy in Maryland, since Salvadorans comprise the largest Latino group in Maryland (31.6 percent of the total Latino population in 2010) and many Salvadoran families in Maryland have family members residing in that country or traveling back and forth between Maryland and El Salvador. The violence and its consequences for health care delivery thus affect Salvadorans living in Maryland. Funding Source: None IRB Approval: Project No. 874411-1 Approved by University of Maryland College Park IRB, May 12, 2016.