COVID-19: Find the latest information on vaccines, testing, and how to get care.

Our Work

PazSalud (‘PeaceHealth’ in Spanish) is an international medical mission jointly founded by PeaceHealth and the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace (CSJP).  It was designed to be an opportunity for their caregivers and members to volunteer in delivering health care services to underprivileged people in El Salvador, believing that this service is a powerful expression of the mission of both sponsors.

Medical mission volunteer checking elderly woman

PazSalud was also created to utilize the gifts of the PeaceHealth health care system to improve the lives of Salvadorans who live in poverty.  In our medical missions and through our ongoing presence in El Salvador, our teams provide free health care for people with very limited resources.  The work that PazSalud does is, by its very nature and design, short-term relief work for a suffering population that needs immediate care, and PazSalud volunteers answer that call.

Since its founding in 2000, PazSalud has been able to provide health care to more than 29,000 Salvadorans, perform over 750 eye surgeries and hold 37 medical missions in rural and urban areas of El Salvador.

Eye surgery

But beyond its mission and design, PazSalud recognized early on that long-term solutions, coupled with short-term help, are key to any developing country’s progress and sustainability.  To that end, PazSalud attempts to address the long-term needs of the communities it serves in the following ways:

Health care referrals.  PazSalud is a lifeline for rural communities to have access to health and vision care.  Government health services, although available to the rural poor on a very limited basis, are deeply inadequate in personnel, medications, supplies and specialty services.  One of the biggest hurdles a rural Salvadoran patient faces is getting a referral into the national health care system at a facility located in an urban center.  PazSalud providers care for approximately 1,500 patients in our General Medical Mission which acts a treatment center but also a referral location as we coordinate all our local medical activities with local doctors who work with us throughout the week to provide valuable referrals for patients who need specialty or advanced care.  With a referral, a patient can access the improved care the urban health care facilities offer in order to continue their treatment.  Over 700 patients receive vision exams and 500 eyeglasses are delivered.  During the cataract surgical missions, PazSalud restores sight to 75+ patients who would otherwise not have access to this life-changing surgery.

Water filters. Clean, safe drinking water is a basic building block to health that nearly every Salvadoran lacks.  During its General Medical Mission, PazSalud providers treat and refer families with a history of parasites for a Sawyer water filter.  Each year, PazSalud provides 100 water filters and in collaboration with Centro de Intercambio and Solidaridad (CIS), each family ‘prescribed’ a filter will receive three pre-educational meetings and a follow up home visit to ensure they are being used correctly.  The water filters provide 10 years of potable water and enhanced health for the entire family, reducing diarrhea and other parasitic health conditions.

Educational Scholarships.  Higher education remains largely inaccessible to the poor, rural Salvadorans with whom PazSalud works.  To address this need, PazSalud provides scholarships to deserving students within the communities where we conduct missions.  Working through CIS to administer the scholarships, PazSalud selects and funds scholarships to students in the medical field: MD, nursing, physical therapy, etc.  A university scholarship has the potential to benefit not only the student, but the entire family and the community for years to come.

Relationships.  PazSalud’s Country Coordinator lives and works in San Salvador and is available to assist community health clinic providers, hospital leaders, patients and their families for follow-up and other health-related needs.  The relationships built during the medical and surgical missions and maintained years after are an integral component to PazSalud’s success, and an ideal expression of PeaceHealth’s and the CSJP’s mission and their commitment to the communities in which we work.

Watch some videos of our work!

Our Partners

PazSalud is successful in realizing its mission because of the generosity and dedication of its incredible partners:

Our Sponsoring Organizations

PeaceHealth

Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

Contributing Organizations

Alcon Laboratories

Bellingham Central Lions Club

Cento Visión – San Salvador, El Salvador

CIS, Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad, San Salvador

MAP International

Northwest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center

Surgical Eye Expeditions International

VisionPros

 

PazSalud Health Mission
PeaceHealth Shared Services Center
1115 SE 164th Avenue, Dept. 314
Vancouver, WA 98683
360-729-1474