Independent consultant in global maternal and child health, tropical diseases and epidemiology, with technical expertise in program design and technical proposals, maternal and child health evaluation and research, and training of health personnel, with special emphasis on community case management and obstetric emergency management at the community level. Before starting his career as a health consultant, he worked for several international non-governmental organizations such as World Vision, ChildFund International, Catholic Relief Services and International Rescue Committee. He has worked in several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both in the field and at the headquarters of institutions. He co-authored two books on global health and published several peer-reviewed scientific articles. He graduated in medicine from the National University of El Salvador and obtained his Master’s degree in Public Health and Tropical Medicine from Tulane University in New Orleans, USA.
What do you think are the current challenges in the cooperation sector?
Credibility, governance and technical strengthening
How do you consider they should be faced?
Credibility: In the area of global health, where many NGOs are involved, the recent pandemic experience was inundated with conspiracy theories and misinformation. Populist governments, such as El Salvador, for example, kept and continue to keep their population ignorant of the true state of the epidemic, using it for a partisan political agenda. Civil society and its non-governmental organizations and the United Nations system showed their inability to counteract this new trend and strategy of using information for political purposes. Faced with this new strategy to influence populations, NGOs as well as the united nations system need to take a stand and reinforce information systems that are closer to community reality.
Governance: «the process by which a society’s stakeholders decide their goals – fundamental and circumstantial – for living together and how to coordinate to achieve them: their sense of direction and their capacity to lead». It seems to me that, in the current environment, many NGOs have lost their way, influenced by political movements and the new economic order. Their capacity to respond to the needs felt by marginalized communities is reduced as they try to respond to international aid money. The tension that arises between beneficiaries and donors generates a conflict and a confusion of vision and institutional mission, demanding internal and external reflection both within and outside these institutions.
Technical strengthening: aligned with the concept of credibility, most NGOs, with very few exceptions, have been left behind in their technical capacity to respond to the new information order and the need to document needs and solutions.