San Salvador - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Local health concerns include "mal de Mayo" (aka e. Coli season, approx last half of April - early June), mosquito-borne illnesses (rates are low, and no need for malaria meds, but you do hear of local cases of dengue and chikungunya), and respiratory issues. Local medical care is okay. Lots of people give birth here, people have had non-emergency surgery and done fine. We have a local pediatrician we like a lot, but for anything serious I'd medevac. - Oct 2023

Health concerns seem minimal. A lot of people have seasonal allergy problems in the dry season. This is also the only place I’ve ever been where there seems to be an E.Coli season? (April-May) But not too bad. My daughter had her first ER visit here, and while the care she received was adequate, it didn’t solve the problem, which any U.S. provider would have resolved in 10 seconds flat. LES helped me find a local pediatric orthopedist who fixed her right up. There are definitely competent local doctors, but I would medevac for anything serious (although many expat women give birth here). Dental care is fine. Personally at the moment I find the Health Unit inadequate. The nurses are reliable, but I feel we’ve had very spotty experiences with a doctor there. In my opinion, the doctor did not seem to understand some fairly basic things (for example, what “causes” autism), and refused to treat or recommend a doctor who could treat my daughter’s orthopedic injury. A new MED officer recently arrived and I hope things improve soon; when I bid, the HU was a big selling point, but now I would say make sure to get up-to-date information if this is important to you. - Feb 2022

No particular health concerns. People in the city seem very Covid-responsible and masks are worn in all stores, etc. There is some good care and a diagnostic clinic for tests, X-rays, MRIs, etc. I would fly back to the US for anything that required a hospital stay for more than a day. - Aug 2021

The embassy has a good health unit. The hospital is in San Benito and is very good. - Jun 2018

Zika and other mosquito born illness, although this hasn't been a problem for us. - Mar 2018

Zika, Chikungunyna.

The medical care locally is ok in my opinion, but not up to US standards. I have been in some situations at the local hospital that were questionable, but nothing life threatening. Many people have dental/orthodontic work done here very reasonably priced, and with good results. I’ve also known people to have a good experience with dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons. - Jan 2018

Air quality is not great. - Nov 2017

Zika, chickungunya and dengue are increasing concerns. - Jul 2016

No malaria, but there is dengue and other nasties. Really good health care and good facilities. Several folks from the embassy have had procedures done here rather than medevac because of the quality/price of care. - Dec 2015

Mosquito borne illnesses are the big ones. The medical care is very cheap and can be good, but it is definitely not U.S. quality. Double-check any advice you get here. - Jun 2015

Medical care is okay. Anything mildly serious gets medevaced. Post has an RMO, local doctor, and several nurses. Dental service is good and fairly cheap - Mar 2015

Medical care is generally good, dentistry is excellent. For serious health problems and maternity care, you would be medevaced to Miami. A few women chose to have their babies in El Salvador and all was fine. - Oct 2014

Yes. Dengue Fever. - Jul 2014

Much of the diet is toxic. My local GP (good ones are based in Escalon) is good, and fixed me up affordably ($40) when I got a nasty URI. - Apr 2012

Dengue is common. - Jul 2011

Dengue fever is a nightmare no one should have to go through, and it is on the rise. You will become very acquainted with your bathroom, so pack lots of reading materials. Local health care is hit-or-miss, even at the hospitals, so ask around and get recommendations from friends. The health unit at the embassy does not enjoy a very good reputation, and many people choose to find their own healthcare elsewhere. - May 2010

General stomach issues are a concern. Dengue fever has hit a few people, but no ex-pats that I'm aware of. We've been to the ER three times with our kids, and we feel like the health care here is adequate. There are a couple of hospitals that have very good equipment and well trained doctors. Nurses generally are not super qualified but can do the basic. The Embassy has a health unit that can refer you to a local doctor that speaks English. Major surgeries would require a medevac to the U.S. I know several people who have had Lasik here and are very pleased with the results and price. Many doctors are willing to make house calls, and an appointment and check up will generally cost between US$25 - $40.The quality of dental work here is very high and dirt cheap. Many families take advantage of prices to get braces, major dental work, and regular cleanings done while they are at post. - Feb 2009

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