World Bank study measures impact of “Sanando Heridas” program

Published on 9 December, 2019 by Glasswing


The “Sanando Heridas” program, a violence prevention initiative helps people who have had exposure to social violence cope with the events based on comprehensive trauma care treatment. It accompanies its users in the restorative process, through the understanding of the effects of trauma and the provision of positive coping skills. Services are provided in public hospitals and health professionals are trained, raising awareness about the importance of providing comprehensive trauma care.  “Sanando Heridas” also has a reference system made up of 38 organizations and public entities that provide complementary help for the recovery of patients.

“Sanando Heridas” arises as a strategy that helps break the cycle of violence. El Salvador was the second most violent country in Latin America in 2018. High levels of violence generate great economic costs. However, violence is a problem that can be prevented. People exposed to high levels of violence and victimization are strongly associated with subsequent acts of violence. International evidence finds that there is a link between suffering a trauma in the present and becoming a victim again in the future. More than 40% of violently injured youth return to emergency service in the future with violence-related injuries and up to 20% are victims of homicide during the five years after they have been treated, thus perpetuating the cycle of violence.

The expected result is to reduce the relapse of users in violent events, in order to contribute to breaking the cycle of violence and, thereby, contribute to the efficiency of public health services. The “Sanando Heridas” program can reduce relapse for violent acts by up to 30%, which can translate into reducing health care costs due to violence by up to 3.3 million. Preliminary results also show that training and sensitization of public hospital staff has had positive effects, reflected in the increase in the reference rate of victims of violence to be treated by the program.