Hospital El Salvador. Taking care of COVID-19 patients.

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Mar 19th, 2022
Hospital El Salvador
El Salvador Hospital.

El Salvador hospital is the new health facility built by the Nayib Bukele administration. It was built between March and August 2020 for the sole purpose of treating COVID-19 patients. El Salvador hospital was built on the grounds of the International Fair and Convention Center or CIFCO.

In March 2020, President Nayib Bukele announced that a new hospital dedicated to Coronavirus patients’ treatment was going to be built and be ready within the next few months. When president Bukele made the announcement, the country had zero confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Opposing political parties such as the FMLN and ARENA criticized the building of the new Hospital El Salvador. Bukele predicted that the new hospital was going to be needed once the virus arrived in the country.

El Salvador Hospital was created as a temporary facility to deal with the new virus. Nonetheless, in June 2020, it was announced that the hospital conversion would be made permanent.

The new installations are getting ready at the right moment, mainly because the Coronavirus cases in El Salvador are increasing.

According to experts, the number of COVID-19 patients will continue to rise. The expected increment in cases is because there is no more obligatory quarantine, and the economy is reopening.

Hospital El Salvador

Why built El Salvador Hospital?

Everyone knew that it was a matter of time for the Coronavirus to enter El Salvador. Also, everyone in the country knew that the current health facilities were not going to be enough to treat patients infected with the virus.

So, why build a new hospital and not temporary ones like other countries? Well, the answer will vary depending on who you ask! For instance, let’s take a look at what politicians are saying.

Many Salvadoran politicians, opposing the Bukele administration, have criticized the construction of this hospital. The critic’s argument is that the hospital is too expensive and taking too long to get completed. Some of them have stated that with this money, the president could already have created several temporary hospitals.

On the other hand, President Bukele and a few politicians argue that Salvadorans deserve a proper hospital. Additionally, President Bukele points out that because this is the rainy season in El Salvador, a tent hospital will not work.

“Creating a temporary hospital in a tent will create other sets of problems and would affect the care of patients, Salvadorans deserve better than that.”
Francisco Alabi. Health Minister.

It is sad to say that for many politicians, the building of this hospital is a political issue and not a health one.

El Salvador Hospital ICU beds

Increasing the number of intensive care units or ICU beds.

Another reason that hospital El Salvador was needed was to increase the number of intensive care units of ICU beds.

It is hard to believe that a country with over six million people had less than 100 ICU beds in working conditions. This is something that the previous FMLN administration is not denying, or at least, I was not able to find any information disproving it.

There is no secret that Salvadoran Hospitals are some of the worst in Central America. Previous administrations did not put the effort needed to keep the hospitals in top working conditions.

The result of their negligence has taken us to a health system that didn’t have enough ICU units to attend the general population.

Indeed, public hospitals in the country are rundown and not well maintained; many people who have spent time at these facilities can attest to that.

The condition of these facilities is not the fault of the selfless doctors and nurses who work at these hospitals. The facilities are in bad shape because of the carelessness of previous administrations.

Once the third phase of construction of the new facility is completed, the country will have over 2000 ICU beds available to treat patients.

Building the new Hospital El Salvador.

Back in early March, during a nationally televised address to the nation, Nayib Bukele announced the creation of the new temporary hospital. Bukele explained that the construction of the new facility was going to be done in three phases.

Phase one of the new El Salvador Hospital.

Phase one was completed in the middle of June. President Nayib Bukele held a nationally televised event in which he inaugurated the new hospital.

Bukele said that during this phase, 400 intensive care units or ICU beds of two types were put together. These ICU beds are definitely going to be needed; three months ago, the country had less than 100 ICU beds.

Hospital El Salvador phase two.

Phase two was completed in early August, President Bukele announced that no public ceremony was conducted because the ICU beds in this phase were needed immediately.

During this stage, an additional 400 ICU beds became available. Most of the ventilators used for these ICU beds were donated by the United States.

Phase three.

The third phase of the hospital was scheduled to be ready mid-August. Since work will take longer to complete this phase, it will be available in September.

During this phase, new buildings had to be built from the ground up, this is causing the delay. Once phase three is completed, the country will have over 2000 ICU beds available.

El Salvador Hospital
El Salvador Hospital.

My point of view on the new Hospital El Salvador.

My point of view is that President Bukele did the right thing investing in this hospital; some of you might disagree with me.

The opposition is claiming that the construction of this hospital is a sign of corruption. The FMLN and ARENA are insisting that President Bukele and his administration are mishandling funds related to this hospital.

I am not going to say that the government is mishandling money. I am not in a position to verify or deny such allegations. It will be up to the attorney general and the courts to see if money is missing.

Personally, I am happy that the country has these many ICU beds available. I am also pleased that we have a conventional hospital and not a temporary tent, as some Salvadoran congressman at the Legislative Assembly wanted.

To get the latest info on this pandemic, visit our Coronavirus in El Salvador page.