El Salvador - like many other countries around the world - is currently under a national state of emergency. Government authorities have established a national lockdown in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Strict enforcement has been carried out to get citizens to comply with the established health measures, which has in turn, limited the ability for people to leave their homes and mobilize. Clinics and hospitals have also been ordered to answer only to medical emergencies and cancel all appointments that do not qualify as urgent. As a response, San Salvador Hub is addressing two challenges:
- to alleviate the physical health and mental health struggles of Salvadoran citizens during lockdown and
- to prevent the possible saturation of our healthcare system due to an overwhelming response to the virus outbreak.
To address the mental health of citizens during lockdown, we have contacted doctors, psychologists and health care professionals who are willing to donate their time by setting up online appointments, to support anyone who needs psychological and other healthcare support. Moreover, we have facilitated the contact information of these doctors, psychologists and healthcare professionals in an online, public directory that can be accessed from a computer, tablet and/or smartphone. We hope this directory will shorten the gap between citizens seeking medical help and doctors willing to provide it, which will also avoid a potential saturation of our healthcare system. This has been done in response to the recommendations made by local doctors and hospitals, who are encouraging people to call them and reach out to address any questions or concerns related to possible COVID-19 symptoms, before going to any local hospital and risking exposure to the virus. We have also facilitated and channeled similar efforts or complimentary services offered by other organizations and service providers, such as 24/7 assistance call centers, so that people have as many resources as the need to feel better and stay healthy.
We seek to provide coping mechanisms for individuals who have mental health struggles in the midst of a crisis, that has and will continue to have a great impact on our environment, on the health of family and friends, and the economy. We are undergoing a crisis that brings about many questions with very few answers, and that can result in a lot of anxiety, uneasiness, and uncertainty for most people. With the right support of specialists, we can hopefully diminish this anxiety and provide the right tools and support to individuals affected by the crisis. We aim to provide these resources so those who need it are able to improve their health and become more resilient citizens. On the other hand, we seek to alleviate the pressure and overflow of patients in our already vulnerable and deficient healthcare system, by providing a reliable option for individuals to address any questions or/and concerns with regards to their health, rather than exposing themselves to COVID-19 by leaving their house and going to a hospital.