Hospital El Salvador

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Hospital El Salvador
Hospital El Salvador.jpg
Hospital El Salvador
LocationSalón Centro Americano, Avenida de la Revolucion 222, San Salvador, El Salvador
Coordinates 13°41′16″N89°14′14″W / 13.68778°N 89.23722°W / 13.68778; -89.23722 (Hospital El Salvador) Coordinates: 13°41′16″N89°14′14″W / 13.68778°N 89.23722°W / 13.68778; -89.23722 (Hospital El Salvador)
Funding Public hospital
Type Specialist
Beds400 (phase 1)
2,000 (phase 3)
Speciality COVID-19
Opened21 June 2020 [1]
Lists Hospitals in El Salvador

The Hospital El Salvador is a major hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador, and is planned to be the largest hospital in Latin America. The first phase was constructed between March and June 2020 as a conversion of the International Fair and Convention Center  [ es ] (Centro Internacional de Ferias y Convenciones, CIFCO) and forms part of El Salvador's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, exclusively receiving COVID-19 patients. Originally intended to be temporary, it was announced in June 2020 that the hospital conversion would be made permanent. In its first phase, the hospital has 400 available beds, a number which was expected to increase to 2,000 total beds upon completion of phase 3 of construction.



On 14 March 2020, President Nayib Bukele announced that a temporary hospital would be constructed in the CIFCO building, the country's main convention center. [2] At the time, there were no reported COVID-19 cases in El Salvador, but Bukele warned of a potential "collapse" of the health system when cases did arrive. [3] The Salvadorean transparency court, the Corte de Cuentas de El Salvador  [ es ], recommended in April that the new hospital be made permanent; the court's president floated the idea of moving the convention center to other facilities. [4] During construction, two workers of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation  [ es ] tested positive for the virus. [5] Personnel worked in three shifts to accelerate work. [6]

The facility was inaugurated by the president on 22 June, [1] at which time he announced the hospital conversion would be permanent because of the large investment made. [7] Also at that time, the hospital was named the "Hospital El Salvador", representing the saving of lives that was hoped would take place there. The inauguration event was closed to journalists, and on multiple occasions officials denied newspaper photographers access to the site. [8] US$25 million was spent on the first phase of the conversion of the former convention center, [9] with the entire facility costing $75 million. [7] Covering 36,000 square metres (390,000 sq ft), the facility features a blood bank, morgue, and radiology area, among other amenities. [9] At the same time the hospital opened, the government began hiring to fill medical and administrative positions. [10] Prior to the pandemic, there were just 30 intensive care unit (ICU) beds in all of El Salvador; surge capacity had brought that number to 157 by the time the hospital opened. [11]

The University of El Salvador issued a press release upon the facility's inauguration, calling for the hospital to eventually become that university's medical school. [12] Since the opening, the transparency court has noted that the health ministry has not allowed auditors to access key areas, such as the morgue, and journalists have not been allowed access to verify that the former convention center has the necessary infrastructure to serve as a hospital. [13] In March 2021, the transparency court alerted to the existence of 63 anomalies in the construction process, including an initial lack of wastewater treatment facilities. [14]

Work on the third and final phase—consisting of entirely new construction—was reported to be slow-moving in October, two months after its planned completion; the government projected it would be in operation by January 2021, [15] though construction work was still ongoing in early March [16] and in early April; despite claims by the Minister of Public Works that it was finished at that time, workers could still be seen on the property. [17] The third phase opened on April 13 and was used as a mass vaccination site. [18]

An article published in The Lancet in December 2020 highlighted the hospital; however, the independent portal Salud con Lupa revealed that the article—in the journal's opinion section—was paid for by the government, which contracted with a consultant, Magdalena Serpa, to promote the facility. [19] An April 2021 letter to The Lancet questioned several aspects of the hospital's design. [20] It came out in November 2021 that the claimed architect of the hospital had not finished his architecture degree. [21]


Front entrance Fachada Hospital El Salvador.jpg
Front entrance

The hospital in its first phase currently has 400 available beds—105 intensive care unit beds and 295 general hospital beds [9] —but the hospital is slated to increase capacity to 1,083 ICU beds [1] and 2,000 total [22] upon completion of phase 3 of construction. [9] The second and third phases were initially anticipated for completion in August, [7] though the latter has since been delayed several times, first to January 2021; [15] it still was not complete by early March. [16] The third phase will include the opening of a three-story building being erected on the former convention center parking lot. [23]

All COVID-19 patients being cared for at other hospitals were to be moved to the new facility to free up the national health system. [1] However, a July report by the national medical association said it was only operating at 25 percent of capacity. [24] The association's president further warned in December, with the third phase of the hospital still not complete, that the hospital system was being saturated with COVID-19 patients and that a system collapse was possible. [25]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Reyes, Scarlett (22 June 2020). "Pandemia : El Salvador inauguró el hospital más grande América Latina" [Pandemic: El Salvador opens the largest hospital in Latin America]. La Notta. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  2. Alfaro, Xiomara (14 March 2020). "Cifco será el primer hospital especializado para atender a pacientes con coronavirus, informa Gobierno" [CIFCO will be the first specialized hospital to treat coronavirus patients, according to the Government]. El Diario de Hoy (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  3. Cornejo, Iliana (16 March 2020). "Invertirán $70 millones en Cifco para convertirlo en hospital" [$70 million to be invested in CIFCO to convert it to a hospital]. El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  4. Arévalo, Mariana (7 April 2020). "Corte de Cuentas de El Salvador recomienda que hospital en CIFCO sea permanente" [Transparency Court of El Salvador recommends that CIFCO hospital be permanent]. El Economista. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  5. Bernal, David (5 May 2020). "Personal del MOP que trabaja en construcción del Hospital del CIFCO da positivo por Covid-19" [MOP personnel working on construction of the CIFCO Hospital test positive for COVID-19]. Focos TV. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  6. "Esta semana abrirán hospitales temporales para pacientes de coronavirus en Tecoluca y Jiquilisco" [This week temporary hospitals for coronavirus patients will open in Tecoluca and Jiquilisco]. Última Hora (in Spanish). 8 April 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  7. 1 2 3 "El Salvador inaugura primera fase de un hospital exclusivo para la COVID-19" [El Salvador inaugurates first phase of a hospital exclusively for COVID-19]. EFE (in Spanish). 22 June 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  8. Tejada, R; Alfaro, Xiomara (21 June 2020). "Gobierno impide acceso a la prensa durante inauguración de primera fase de hospital Cifco" [Government impedes access to press during inauguration of first phase of CIFCO hospital]. El Diario de Hoy (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  9. 1 2 3 4 "Nayib Bukele inaugura en El Salvador primera fase del 'mejor hospital de Latinoamérica' exclusivo para covid-19" [Nayib Bukele opens in El Salvador the first phase of the "best hospital in Latin America" exclusively for COVID-19]. El Comercio (in Spanish). AFP. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  10. "Estas son las plazas vacantes en el nuevo Hospital El Salvador" [These are the vacant positions in the new Hospital El Salvador]. El Diario de Hoy (in Spanish). 21 June 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  11. "MINSAL celebra inauguración de Hospital El Salvador" [MINSAL [Health Ministry] celebrates inauguration of Hospital El Salvador]. Contrapunto (in Spanish). 22 June 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  12. "El Salvador pone a funcionar hospital para COVID-19" [El Salvador puts into operation COVID-19 hospital]. Houston Chronicle (in Spanish). Associated Press. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  13. Segura, Edwin (16 July 2020). "El Salvador: La inconclusa transformación del CIFCO en un hospital" [El Salvador: The incomplete transformation of CIFCO into a hospital]. El Economista (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  14. Velásquez, Eugenia (18 March 2021). "Corte de Cuentas halla 63 anomalías en edificación del Hospital El Salvador" [Transparency Court finds 63 anomalies in construction of Hospital El Salvador]. El Salvador (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  15. 1 2 Velásquez, Eugenia (22 October 2020). "Tras lento avance en tercera fase del Hospital El Salvador, ministro de Obras Públicas dice comenzarán a levantar paredes" [After slow progress on third phase of Hospital El Salvador, Minister of Public Works says they will start to raise walls]. (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  16. 1 2 "Tercera fase del Hospital El Salvador sin concluir" [Third phase of Hospital El Salvador unfinished]. YSUCA (in Spanish). 7 March 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  17. Hernández, William (6 April 2021). "Sin destino el uso del hospital construido en parqueo del Cifco" [Undefined, the use of the hospital built in the Cifco parking lot]. El Salvador (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  18. Villeda, Jaqueline (12 April 2021). "Tercera fase de Hospital El Salvador sería centro de vacunación" [Third phase of Hospital El Salvador to be vaccination center]. El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  19. Romero, Cecibel (11 February 2021). "Hospital El Salvador costea publicación de artículos en revistas internacionales" [Hospital El Salvador foots the bill for publication of articles in international journals]. Salud con Lupa (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  20. Amaral, Arevalo; Wenham, Clare (1 April 2021). "Hospital El Salvador: broader questions remain". The Lancet Global Health. 9 (4): e406. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(21)00048-6. ISSN   2214-109X. PMC   7963446 . PMID   33647236.
  21. Beltrán Luna, Jorge (14 November 2021). "Autor de diseño de hospital El Salvador no aparece en registros de arquitectos de Ministerio de Vivienda" [Designer of Hospital El Salvador building does not appear on registry of architects of the Housing Ministry]. (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  22. "El Salvador inaugura un hospital solo para pacientes de la COVID-19 con una capacidad de 2.000 camas" [El Salvador opens a hospital exclusively for COVID-19 patients with a capacity of 2,000 beds]. Europa Press (in Spanish). 22 June 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  23. Villarán, Julio (27 June 2020). "Hospital El Salvador da de alta a los primeros 5 pacientes que fueron ingresados esta semana" [Hospital El Salvador discharges first 5 patients admitted this week]. La Página (in Spanish). Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  24. "Colegio Médico: Hospital El Salvador ha usado solo el 25% de su capacidad" [Medical College: Hospital El Salvador has only used 25% of its capacity]. YSUCA (in Spanish). 20 July 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  25. "Los hospitales se están saturando de pacientes con COVID-19, sin que el Hospital El Salvador esté terminado" [The hospitals are filling up with COVID-19 patients as the Hospital El Salvador is still unfinished]. YSUCA (in Spanish). 30 December 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2021.