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On the right to health in El Salvador: no to privatisation
  1. Eduardo Espinoza1,
  2. Felipe Vargas2
  1. 1Docente Investigador en Politicas de Salud, Maestría en Salud Pública, Universidad de El Salvador; espinoza{at}
  2. 2Secretario de Comunicaciones, Universidad de El Salvador

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    A protest against the privatisation of the Social Security System on 23 October 2002, on the streets of San Salvador saw the largest demonstration since the signing of the peace agreement between the government and the guerrilla forces in 1992. The protest deepened into a strike for 45 days with the workers of the health system demanding that the government provide the legal means to avoid privatisation of public health services.

    More than 150 000 people joined the protest organised by health workers intent on stopping a package of laws recommended by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that would permit the privatisation of the Social Security Salvadorian Institute. This demonstration was a part of a strike with the protest being led by the El Salvador College of Physicians.

    The government measures of privatisation are in line with the Chilean and Colombian health reforms. These are being applied in a climate of growing economic crisis, widespread unemployment, deterioration of the democratic freedoms, and an increase in poverty. If pursued they will lead to inequity in access to health care and could create social unrest in a country whose recent history is of revolution and social violence.

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    Picture credit: Carlos Flores, Secretaría de Comunicaciones, Universidad de El Salvador.

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