What is healthcare in El Salvador like?

Facilities and Health Information:

There are few private and no public hospitals with an environment that would be acceptable to visiting U.S. citizens. The Embassy recommends that these hospitals be used only for emergency care to stabilize a condition prior to returning to the United States for definitive evaluation and treatment. Private hospitals and physicians expect up-front payment (cash or, for hospitals, credit card) for all bills as there are no hospitals or medical offices who will bill U.S. insurance companies.

Priority Ambulance (011-503-2264-7911) is the only private ambulance service with a fleet of vehicles in San Salvador that has trained personnel and medical equipment to manage emergencies. The response time is often less than ideal because of the heavy traffic in San Salvador. Therefore, whenever possible, people should transport themselves directly to the hospital by private vehicle.

Pharmacies are plentiful, but not all medicines found in the United States are available in El Salvador. Medicines often have a different brand name and are frequently more expensive than in the United States. We recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to El Salvador carry an adequate supply of any medication they require in its original container, which should be clearly labeled. A copy of the prescription from your doctor will be helpful in the event that it is requested by immigration or customs authorities.

No specific vaccinations are required for entry into El Salvador from the United States. Travelers coming from countries where yellow fever is endemic must have had a yellow fever vaccination in order to enter the country. For more information, visit El Salvador’s Immigration web site.

You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in El Salvador. For further information, please consult the CDC’s information on Tuberculosis.

Tap water is not safe to drink in El Salvador, and the Embassy advises official visitors and personnel to use either bottled water or to disinfect tap water using the guidelines suggested at the CDC website.

Drinking Water Source - % of rural population improved"

81%

Drinking Water Source - % of total population unimproved:

9.9%

Drinking Water Source - % of urban population improved:

95%

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.8%

Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population:

1

People Living with HIV/AIDS:

34,000

Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population:

1.6

Sanitation Facility Access - % of total population unimproved:

29.5%

Sanitation Facility Access - % of urban population improved:

79.5%

Sanitation Facitlity Access - % of rural population improved:

53.4%

Infectious Diseases - degree of risk:

high

Food or Waterborne Disease (s):

bacterial and protozoal diarrhea

Vectorborne Disease (s):

dengue fever

Disability Access In El Salvador

Accessibility:

While in El Salvador, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other state services. According to the National Council for Comprehensive Attention to Persons with Disability (CONAIPD), the government does not allocate sufficient resources to enforce these prohibitions effectively, particularly in education, employment, and transportation, and does not effectively enforce legal requirements for access to buildings, information, and communications for persons with disabilities. There are almost no access ramps or provisions for the mobility of persons with sight and hearing disabilities.

Disclaimer

You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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