El Salvador 2017 Reflection

Earlier this month, Giving Children Hope’s Executive Director, Sean Lawrence, and Global Operations Coordinator, Mikaela Buchanan, visited El Salvador to meet with partners, both current and potential, see the impact our product and partnerships are having, and witness the need in the country.  Read Mikaela’s reflection from the trip below. 

As I walked through the hospitals, clinics, and homes in El Salvador, I was struck by the obvious needs versus the overwhelming lack of resources. In one clinic there was an old massage table being used as an exam table. Sewing machines and desks for the afternoon classes were sitting in the corner of a room that I was informed had routinely been used for minor surgeries, though I couldn’t imagine where or how. The pediatric unit of another hospital had infants in the ICU, but the children with infectious diseases couldn’t be separated from the children recovering from surgeries, making recovery longer and more difficult as space became more and more limited. Patient monitors are not available for all, only those in critical condition. A woman painfully pushed herself in a wheelchair with wheels that would not let her go straight. The needs, though striking, have tangible solutions.

The clinic we saw could use an exam table, a sterilizer, and surgical instruments. The hospital could use infant warmers, patient monitors, and beds. The elderly home could use bedpans, catheters, wheelchairs, and sheets. These are all basic items I would hope that my family would have access to when they are receiving medical care – items that may increase mortality, bring comfort, or help doctors and nurses better do their jobs. Thankfully these are the items that are sorted, refurbished and staged right here in Giving Children Hope’s warehouse and that can and have had a huge impact on the lives of people in El Salvador.

Our partners in El Salvador are fighting for people’s needs. One of the doctors we met spent the week prior to our visit petitioning for an increased budget in order to expand the work the hospital is doing. Their hearts are to give people life-saving surgeries, provide people comfort as they care for loved ones recovering in hospitals, give the immobile mobility, provide a future for the younger generation, and care for the those impoverished and exploited. We know the needs are great, and the partners are reliable and dedicated. I’m convinced that we are having an impact on people’s lives through these supplies and I’m inspired to find the resources necessary to send these needed supplies now more than ever.