Relatives of the 215 Doctors killed by COVID-19 in El Salvador ask for support from the authorities

Hero doctors who gave their lives to treat patients with Covid-19.
photo VD: Yaneth Estrada.

By Yaneth Estrada

The Savior – While many recover from COVID-19, a widow and mother of two children, holds a newspaper clipping and mourns the death of her husband Dr. Carlos Tobar, died of coronavirus on 13 July 2020.

“He had a small clinic in Apopa, during mandatory home quarantine, public hospitals, cared only for COVID-19 patients, but there were more sick, and like many doctors he decided to open the clinic to care for his chronic patients, it was like this for a few months, one day in the afternoon he came home and told me, I have fever, I think it infects me, I did not come near, I saw him at three meters, then he went to a hospital”, related his widow, Lourdes de Tobar.

photo VD: Yaneth Estrada.

After 10 days in Intensive Care, the doctor like others 215 country doctors, passed away, the official diagnosis was COVID-19. “I couldn't see it, we were not at his funeral, let 2 small children, so far we have no support, there is nowhere to go, we don't have life insurance, this disease took a great human being, and professionally delivered”, he said in a broken voice, by Tobar.

This Thursday, one year after confirming the first case of COVID-19 in El Salvador, his widow received a photo and as a posthumous tribute her husband's face will be one of the 215 exhibited in a traveling exhibition that will tour the country, remembering these medical professionals, who despite the global pandemic due to COVID-19 gave their lives to the service of society, that he learned little or nothing from this experience and that he has little gratitude for his work.

photo VD: Yaneth Estrada.

Heroes or victims? 

“They only gave him a mask and gloves”, reported Karina Artiga, niece of a doctor who died during the COVID-19 pandemic in El Salvador. Dr. Ana Mejía, highlighted in Santo Tomás south of the Salvadoran capital, did not stop attending his patients, despite mobility restrictions during mandatory home quarantine, had more than 20 years of experience serving isolated and low-income communities.

No official data from the Ministry of Health of El Salvador (MINSAL), the Health Movement “Doctor Salvador Allende”, the Faculty of Medicine of the University of El Salvador (UES), The Share Foundation and the Latin American Association of Social Medicine El Salvador (ALAMES) they account for more than 215 specialists deceased due to coronavirus causes.

photo VD: Yaneth Estrada.

And it is still the year of their deaths that they made a tribute, they delivered photographs, They held a traveling photographic exhibition to ask the authorities for a commemorative square, to support relatives, mainly children, fact-checking and recognizing victims, not just call them “Heroes”.

“We posthumously acknowledge all those professionals who gave their lives to serve others, but that they were also victims of a system that did not give them the proper equipment to safeguard their own lives.”, Isabel Hernández from Fundación Share stressed.

photo VD: Yaneth Estrada.

Meanwhile, Fatima Wings of the Movement for Health Dr. Salvador Allende stressed that he calls to guarantee the pertinent protection measures for health personnel, without letting our guard down until an acceptable level of immunization is achieved as a country, as well as the implementation of plans to address the pandemic with a focus on health promotion.

further, to more than two thousand loss of life due to COVID-19, demand that the authorities place the guarantee of the human right to health, as a priority issue at the national level to build a true dialogue and national agreement for health, without other interests overlapping the decision-making processes.

photo VD: Yaneth Estrada.

While in honor of the victims' families they ask the government and the Ministry of Health (MINSAL) provide statistical data on front-line personnel infected and deceased by the disease.