WFH NETWORK

Expanding care in El Salvador

After twenty years of work on behalf of children with hemophilia in El Salvador, the National Children’s Hospital Benjamin Bloom has come a long way in its push to develop sustainable comprehensive care over the years.

Ana Gladis de Reyes, MD, is a pioneer for treating patients with hemophilia and other related bleedings disorders in her country and has been at the forefront of this push in El Salvador. By profession she is a pediatric hematologist and coordinator of the comprehensive care team.

“I had a vision that the hospital would become a national reference center that would provide proper care and treatment for children with hemophilia and other related bleeding disorders. I also wanted to create a multidisciplinary team that would be committed to improving care of these children and their families,” expressed de Reyes.

De Reyes encouraged and invited different health professionals to participate in the creation of this multidisciplinary team. El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America with approximately 140 patients identified with hemophilia.  The multi-team is comprised of medical hematologists, physical therapists, medical psychiatrists, a lab technician, medical orthopedist, dentist, pharmacist, nurses, and social workers; all with training about proper clinical management of hemophilia and backed up with support from organizations like the WFH.

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Since the beginning of the multi-team, de Reyes and her team have always emphasized that education is fundamental for patients and their families. “We recognize that this has been one of the most important tools all these years.  We worked with and organized sessions with teachers of hemophilia patients, conducted the first basic course on hemophilia and other bleeding disorders for health professionals at the regional level in the country.  We continue to work in continuing education through diverse programs to empower the patients and communities,” stated de Reyes. Creating sustainability and continuity of knowledge is essential for ensuring adequate care for these patients.

Pediatric treatment for hemophilia patients in El Salvador has made significant progress. Despite the challenges, this centre has found ways to provide some children with low dose prophylaxis. The results have been very encouraging and have made a significant difference in ensuring proper joint development.  The team has been very dedicated to working within their means to improve care and the results are impressive.