GLOBAL: Projects improve care for people with disabilities in Mexico and El Salvador
Funding received from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID/ASHA) program.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Feb. 15, 2022) Thanks to funding Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, received from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID/ASHA) program, Salesian missionaries have been able to launch building projects to improve the standard of medical care for people in El Salvador and Mexico. The projects are a mix of construction, equipment purchases and training to improve health care outcomes for people with physical disabilities.
Don Bosco University in San Salvador, El Salvador, is empowering the next generation of medical rehabilitation practitioners to transform the lives of people with mobile disabilities through its “Walking Anew!” project. The project has expanded and upgraded the facilities at Don Bosco University’s School of Rehabilitation Science and the equipment used to train medical rehabilitation professionals. The project is pioneering innovative techniques in the treatment of people with disabilities.
The construction of the new building, which houses the Applied Research Center, allows for the exchange of information with professionals in the field at an international level as well as provides space for a new podiatry laboratory and other specialized practices. The program has already trained people from El Salvador, other countries in Central America, South America, Haiti, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Following the success of the project in El Salvador, the “Raising Standards of Care for Spinal Cord Injury Patients” project is constructing and equipping Mexico’s first comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation center to assist patients who have been paralyzed by spinal cord injuries, with a special focus on youth.
The project runs from October 2018 through the end of September 2023. The Latin American Center for the Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries, which is being built in Guadalajara, will be the only center in Mexico dedicated to serving the target population. Construction for the new center is continuing to progress as scheduled. Equipment is expected to be acquired in early 2022.
The “Raising Standards” project will provide specialized occupational therapy to retrain people in the skills they need to independently carry out typical household chores and activities. This includes a simulated kitchen to help patients to learn how to maneuver and cook with their new physical circumstances. Office and bedroom simulation areas will also be a part of the project.
“We are grateful to USAID for its support and funding for the construction projects in El Salvador and Mexico,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “People with disabilities have the same ability to achieve as their peers if given the opportunity. Projects like these help pave the way for advanced research, learning and innovation that help aid inclusion of people with disabilities in every facet of life, particularly in countries where limited services existed until now.”
These critical health infrastructure projects would not be possible without the support of USAID/ASHA funding, which is making a significant impact in these countries. Salesian Missions is grateful for the continued support and ability to impact health outcomes for people in poverty.
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