What We Are Doing

Children in El Salvador launched the Race for Survival Initiative 10 Sep 2015

Written by Angelica Montes, Communications and Media Officer, Save the Children El Salvador

Nearly 200 children between 0 and 6 years old run the Race for Survival organized by Save the Children country office at the local park of Izalco municipality in Sonsonate department, where Save the Children implements the “First steps to success” program.

Participants of the event included children from two local public schools (4-6 years old), teachers, children from health unit that were born prematurely (0-3 years old), parents, local health staff, pregnant women, Major of the municipality, local media and Save the Children staff.

With the event, Save the Children in El Salvador launched the initiative that is expected to end on October 24, with a second race in the capital city, where the private sector and children from a private international school will be the participants.

This year the race focused its advocacy effort in raising awareness on prematurity, the first cause of deseases for children under 5 years old with a 28% at the national level. Only in Sonsonate department, where the race took place, the percentage of child mortality caused by prematurity is 8.3%.

After the race, children and their parents participated of a consultation which aimed to gather their ideas, comments, petitions and hopes on the maternal-infant health topic. Organized by groups and leaded by a Save the Children staff, children and their caregivers shared their thoughts on access and quality of health services, needs of population to reach their hopes for 2030 and demands they have for governments to fulfill those needs.

The race was also an opportunity to share key messages and printed information about good practices on maternal-infant health care, alert signs to identify diarrhea or respiratory illnesses, which are other causes for child mortality in the country.

MOST COMMON HOPES AND PETITIONS FROM CHILDREN AND FAMILIES OF IZALCO were...

  1. To improve the attention at the health units.
  2. To improve and increase access to medicine
  3. To reduce the time of waiting for a medical appointment.
  4. To increase the number of health staff at the health centers, in order to expand coverage.
  5. To improve the hygiene of facilities at the health centers.
  6. To include all type of people (gender, ages, economic status) receiving attention.
  7. To train better the community health promoters
  8. To include all type of medical care in the same health center.
  9. To extend the schedules of attention, from Monday to Sunday 24hours  and not only during the week.
  10. To make the health staff to assist people on the scheduled time.
  11. To include dental care in the health units
  12. To have a specialized pediatrician at the posts.
  13. To provide specific medicine and not only for general relief.
  14. To receive vaccination on the scheduled time and not only when there is availability.

Watch the video of Children drawing their hopes for 2030