183577 Remittances and Public-Private Collaboration: A Pilot to Improve Health Care and Development in El Salvador and a Model for Latin America

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Debora Freitas , University Research Co, LLC, Bethesda, MD
According to a report from the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador, remittances have increased in 2007 by 7% to $321/mo., double the average salary for service sector workers in El Salvador. While the flow of remittances to El Salvador ($3.7 billion in 2007) is increasing, the majority of this money is still used on consumption with only 3.7% of remittance receivers enrolled in a savings account. The pilot Remittances for Health Project will improve the health and quality of life of Salvadoran's in both the U.S. and El Salvador by increasing the productivity of remittances. The program channels remittances and matching funds from the El Salvador private sector to improve access to and quality of health services in the communities of Chinameca and San Rafael Obrajuelo. Private sector partners include the banking, insurance, pharmaceutical, and medical services sectors. In El Salvador, initial health improvement activities include a health insurance package, the hiring of an OBGYN, clinic improvements, and the provision of low cost medicines. In the U.S., Salvadoran Home Town Associations (HTAs) will benefit from capacity building, financial literacy training, and a health education program on obesity/diabetes. This project will develop sustainable links between the public and private sectors and empower Salvadoran people to be involved in the development of their communities.

The pilot project will:

Increase remittances allocated to health activities;

Form public-private alliances to improve quality/access to health services;

Document results and expand best practices to communities in El Salvador and the US.

Learning Objectives:
Recognize the importance of immigration, and specifically of remittances, as a powerful and sustainable health improvement tool. Develop strong community links between the Latino Diaspora in the United States and their communities of origin. Increase awareness among public health professionals on the importance of remittances and public-private partnerships for improving community health. Learn lessons from the El Salvador Pilot Project and identify opportunities with other immigrant communities.

Keywords: Underserved Populations, Latinos

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal project manager for the project which pretains to the current abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.