This past Tuesday, mariachis and medical staff welcomed Antonio Martinez Hernandez as the new director of the ISSS (Salvadoran Institute of Social Security), a government-run health system that provides services to employed Salvadorans.
Director Hernandez took the position promising to reduce the amount to time spent waiting for appointments, and improve the attention that patients receive from their doctor. He stated that his primary goal is to improve the care given to patients, who ought to begin to see a difference in the next few days as new standards are implemented. A representative from an ISSS hospital claimed that they “will walk the cobbled road that others have left for them, and make change.” These changes begin with a Director that does not stay locked up in his office.
The ISSS is a part of the government-run public health care system in El Salvador, and provides services to 18% of the population. The ISSS system provides health insurance coverage and health services to all Salvadorans with jobs in the formal economy. Unfortunately, the approximately 40-50% of Salvadorans who work in the informal economy do not have access to the ISSS system, and depend on the system of public hospitals available to all Salvadorans.