El Salvador is characterized by deep gaps between the poor and the rich and a history of violence. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of SLV and acronym for El Salvador. The civil war of 1980-92 left a country with major problems and needs for investment in infrastructure and social programs. More than a third of the population is estimated to live in poverty, a poverty that exists both in cities and in rural areas where many lack access to water and sewage. Violence and high crime have, after the peace agreement, grown to become one of the most difficult problems. Much of the violence stems from fighting between youth gangs and El Salvador is one of the countries in the world with the highest number of murders per capita and year.
About 60 percent of the population is estimated to work in the informal sector and is therefore not covered by social protection programs.
Public health care is administered by the Institute of Social Insurance (Instituto Salvadoreño del Seguro Social). The social insurance system guarantees old age, disability and sickness pension as well as child allowance and free health care for children and the elderly, but a large part of the Salvadoran people are not covered by the system. To be connected requires that you have a job, but some groups are still excluded, for example, farm workers. The retirement age is 60 years for men and 55 years for women. Health care’s share of government spending is about 15.5 percent (2012). Malaria, typhoid and dysentery are common diseases, and the shortage of doctors and other healthcare professionals is great. In 2010, in El Salvador, there were 1.6 doctors per 1,000 residents. Most hospitals are run by public authorities, but the resources are unevenly distributed regionally. Rural health has improved since a reform program was launched in the early 1990s.
The number of local health clinics has doubled and fees have been abolished for the poorest, which has led to reduced maternal mortality. Abortion is totally prohibited in all circumstances, even if the pregnant woman’s life is at risk. Doctors who perform abortions can be sentenced to 12 years and get rid of their credentials. The ban leads to many deaths in connection with illegal abortions.