Building Health Awareness: Collaborative Efforts in COVID-19 Prevention for Pregnant Women in El Salvador

In the battle against COVID-19, El Salvador has witnessed a remarkable success story through the collaborative efforts of The Task Force for Global Health (TFGH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local partners under the project “Research and Education on COVID-19 in El Salvador 2023-2024.” This initiative comprised two crucial components, with a focus on training health professionals to implement an educational strategy aimed at preventing COVID-19 in pregnant women. In this blog post, we delve into the inspiring journey of Maria Julia Lopez and Rafael Alas, health promoters at Aguilares and Santa Ana healthcare facilities, respectively, and the impactful outcomes of their dedication.

Maria Julia emphasizes the significance of an educational strategy for pregnant women, a critical demographic in need of accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccination. The lack of educational materials and methodologies posed a challenge for Ministry of Health of El Salvador (MINSAL) professionals. With direct funding from TFGH and technical support from the CDC, Maria Julia and her colleagues were equipped with innovative methodologies, including the use of puppets to convey essential messages. This approach proved instrumental in dispelling myths surrounding COVID-19 vaccines, providing clarity, and fostering a stronger connection with the community.

Rafael Alas is grateful to the CDC, TFGH, and ASOPEDES (Asociación de Pediatría de El Salvador) for the comprehensive training he received in different methodologies for educational strategy. The availability of educational materials and puppets further enhanced the training process for pregnant women accessing MINSAL healthcare facilities. The influence goes beyond individual practitioners, as the educational strategy is on track to evolve into a regulatory document accessible in every healthcare facility, shaping a standardized approach nationwide.

The creation of an educational strategy, coupled with the design of materials like flipcharts and brochures, represents a monumental step forward for MINSAL in improving medical attention for pregnant women.

A total of 198 health professionals received training under the educational strategy, directly contributing to improved knowledge and communication skills in preventing COVID-19 in pregnant women. This training will significantly enhance the overall medical attention provided by health professionals nationwide.

The impact of the project is far-reaching, with an estimated 36,000 people benefiting indirectly. This includes health professionals, pregnant women, and their families across the 48 MINSAL healthcare facilities. The ripple effect ensures that communities at large are well-informed, fostering a culture of understanding and cooperation in the fight against COVID-19. As the educational strategy becomes a regulatory document, its impact is poised to endure, contributing to a safer and healthier future for the people of El Salvador.

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