Salvadoran Armed Forces Provides Medical Specialists for People with Disabilities

first_imgBy Lorena Baires/Diálogo July 25, 2016 The Salvadoran Armed Forces (FAES, for its Spanish acronym),through their Coordination Support Unit for the Disabled (UCADFA, for itsSpanish acronym), travels to the country’s remote mountainous regions to bringspecialized healthcare to people with disabilities. Doctors from UCADFA and the Military Health Command (COSAM,for its Spanish acronym) organize the visits in conjunction with localgovernments and, if necessary, they secure additional support from theSalvadoran Social Security Institute and the Health Ministry (MINSALUD). On June 20th, Arnoldo Valladares, a 54-year-old soldier andresident of the municipality of El Paisnal in the department of San Salvador,responded to the FAES’ offer of free transportation to the Special ForcesCommand (CFE, for its Spanish acronym). On the way to the CFE, Valladares recalled that he had justturned 25 when he was shot through his right knee by a stray bullet at asugarcane plantation near his home. It was 1985, and El Salvador was the sceneof a civil conflict. Without immediate medical attention, he lost his leg. Since then Valladares has had several prosthetics, and thelast one, which he purchased in 2013 with the help of some friends who liveabroad, was already worn out. Not only did medical specialists at the CFErepair the prosthesis, but they also took care of a visual impairment thatprevented him from reading. “I am so thankful to the Armed Forces because Iwouldn’t have been able to pay for all of the medical care I received, themedicines and the glasses,” Valladares said during the medical campaign at theCFE. “My life will now get a lot better because I will be able to walk betterand read, which I haven’t done for a long time.” A total of 160 people with disabilities, and their families, were mobilized through this medical campaign to receive specialized care in general medicine, orthopedics, dentistry, pediatrics, and psychology. All received their medication at no charge. Alejandro Segovio, a 47-year-old mechanic and resident ofthe municipality of Aguilares, in the department of San Salvador, stood in lineto receive free pain medication for his hands. His pain was the result of usingworn-out crutches. “My crutches are useless now. The wood was splinteredand hurt my hands,” Segovio said, with tears in his eyes. “Now I walk with newcrutches, and I have pain medicine for my injured hands. I don’t know how tothank them for what they have done for me.” A few days later, the Sixth Infantry Brigade traveled to the municipality of Nueva Granada in Usulután, where it set up a joint healthcare center, in which COSAM and MINSALUD also took part. “This is the sixth poorest of the country’s 262municipalities. That’s why we decided to come and bring specialized medicalservices to people with disabilities,” said Colonel Jaime Ernesto Arias,commander of the FAES Sixth Infantry Brigade. Julián de los Ángeles Hurtado, 49, was also lined up toreceive treatment at the medical campaign. He was injured during an armedconflict that confined him to a wheelchair. “I can’t fully express my appreciation towards the ArmedForces for curing an infection I had in my knee that was caused by some rustedmetal sheets I was moving in my house. Thank God it’s nothing serious, andeverything is okay,” Hurtado said while receiving his medication. María de Jesús Recinos, 39, gave one of the COSAM doctors atight hug and thanked him tearfully for her husband’s crutches. He lostmobility in his right leg after a traffic accident 15 years ago. “I am happy and so thankful because they have given myhusband a way to get around on his own. Now he will be able to continue workingwithout worrying, without having to depend on me to walk. We would never havebeen able to pay for the help we received,” said Recinos at the end of theday in Usulután. So far this year, UCADFA has run five medical outreach daysfor people with disabilities and has provided services for more than 1,500people and their families. Colonel Óscar Alberto Ramírez, commander of the CFE,considers these outreach days to be a show of the solidarity which is instilledin every military unit. “These activities make us stronger and give us a lot ofsatisfaction because we are serving our Salvadoran brothers and those who haveserved our country,” Col. Ramírez saidduring the medical outreach day on June 20th. “We appreciate all the public andprivate institutions which have joined our efforts, because together we willcontinue bringing good health to the population.”last_img

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