Improving Community Resilience through the Americares Disaster Risk Reduction Program

Building community resilience and providing disaster support are two of the core focus areas for the Astellas Global Health Foundation. By supporting initiatives that help strengthen healthcare infrastructure, improve systems and increase training and education initiatives in underserved global communities, the Foundation can help charitable organizations proactively tackle major health challenges in these vulnerable areas and help them prepare for and respond more effectively to future disasters.

In 2019, the Astellas Global Health Foundation awarded a $600,000 grant to help support Americares programs in rural El Salvador, particularly through the Americares Family Clinic in Santiago de María in rural eastern El Salvador, which is among the most impoverished communities in the region. A portion of that grant went to support the Americares Family Clinic Disaster Risk Reduction Program, which trains hospital staff and community members to better prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters. Fifteen communities served by the clinic prone to flooding, landslides, earthquakes and forest fires were invited to participate.

The Americares Disaster Risk Reduction Program leverages the organization’s core competencies in emergency preparedness programming focused on health centers and resilience programming at the community level. The program uses an emergency preparedness “camp” approach, which brings health workers and community leaders through a full cycle of planning and training exercises and evaluation. The project helps establish valuable connections among all stakeholders to better position them for an integrated response during a disaster.

Hospital staff and community members participate in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training at the Americares Family Clinic.

The approach includes training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), mental health and psychosocial support, as well as preparedness. In 2021, as part of the El Salvador program, Americares provided training to dozens of participants, including hospital staff members at several hospitals, Civil Protection Technicians, and community leaders. The stakeholders were also equipped with early warning systems, and evacuation and first aid kits to be utilized during response to disasters. The Americares Family Clinic also received a new generator that will power the facility’s clinical and diagnostic services areas in the event an emergency disrupts power to the clinic.

The Astellas Global Health Foundation is proud to support the important work of Americares. The Foundation is focused on improving access to health in underserved global communities along with building resilient communities and providing disaster support in order to make a sustainable impact on the health of people around the world, working toward “One World, A Healthier Tomorrow.” In communities like rural El Salvador, where the health infrastructure is already at risk due to natural disasters, these types of efforts to prepare for disaster are even more critical. Americares initiatives have helped strengthen people-centered health systems and address barriers to care, including improving disaster preparedness at both the community and facility levels.

Evacuation and first aid kits were provided to all participating health facilities that received the Americares training.

Learn more about Americares efforts in El Salvador, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.