EL SALVADOR.  Population Policy, 2 September 1988.  (El Salvador, National Population Commission, Population Policy, San Salvador, 1988.)



IV.  Definition of the Policy


The Population Policy is the group of measures set out by the State with the goal of harmonizing national demographic evolution with the conditions and requirements of the development process and promoting the individual and his nuclear family so that he participates in an egalitarian manner in the responsibilities and benefits of this development.


V.  Policy Directives


The Population Policy is based on four referential elements:


-           Conceptual interpretations of the relationships between population and development


-           Philosophical and political directives


-           Legal context


-           Orientations and Programs contained in the General Plan of Government


5.1  Interrelationships between Population and Development


            The Population Policy recognizes that demographic evolution is a product of the social structure and at the same time a conditioning factor of it.  This postulate leads us to the consideration of the complex, diverse, and subtle interrelationships between the processes of economic and social development and the demographic transformations of society.


            The family constitutes the nexus between the individual and the society; the repercussions of economic and social development are projected on it. The conditions of employment, production, and income; the availability of goods, health, education, nutrition, recreation, housing, social security, and public services, basically define the quality of life of the nuclear family.  The differential access to these goods creates a great heterogeneity in the conditions of life, which in turn influences the forms of the organization of the family and the conduct of its members.


            The strategic importance of this focus for the Population Policy is rooted in the fact that practically all of the phenomena that define demographic evolution occur and develop within the family institution.


            The structure of the family, whether by law or in fact; sexual relations; and conception or contraception and procreation all constitute reproductive functions of life which are fulfilled within the family organization.  Conservation of life, that is, the conditions of infant mortality and first years of infancy, depend on the family circumstances in which the child is born and develops.  Even adult mortality and maternal mortality are associated with the conditions of life of the family.  Population movements are equally generated within the family.  From another perspective, the family constitutes an economic unit of production and consumption, whether within the family unit itself or outside of it.  The work of spouses, children, and the elderly is related to the forms of family organization.  In sum, fundamental demographic processes are all related to the institution of the family and all of these processes manifest great diversity, depending on where the family is located within the social structure.


            Therefore, the achievement of demographic objectives and its contribution to national development must be centered on the family as a unit for analysis and action.


5.2  Philosophic and Political Aspects


            Philosophical and political orientation is inspired by the General Plan of Government. Therefore, the Population Policy constitutes a mechanism to achieve the common good, based on authentic social justice, through actions consistent with the democratic process that has begun and through the participation of all levels of Salvadorean society in a climate of understanding, pluralism, and respect for individual liberties.


            This policy aspires to improve the quality of life of the population, which, being a community of people with dignity, constitutes the most valuable resource of the country.


5.3  Legal Context


            The Population Policy has been formed in compliance with the constitutional mandate in force, which provides:  The State shall adopt population policies with the goal of assuring the greatest welfare for the inhabitants of the Republic (Art.118). The aspiration of achieving the greatest welfare  will be reached by means of authentic social justice that empowers and provides access to the common good.  As indicated in the explanation of the general theory of the policy, the nuclear family will be considered a starting point and center of attention, and, in this sense the policy will respond to the constitutional mandate that The Family is the fundamental basis of society and will have the protection of the State, which will establish the necessary legislation and will create the appropriate organizations and services for the family's integration, welfare, and social, cultural, and economic development.  (Art. 32)


            The same provision gives rise to the development of two necessary actions, given the actual situation in the country, which will reinforce the Population Policy.  These two actions are:


1. The promulgation of necessary legislation, which should be incorporated when secondary legislation is amended to conform with the Constitution in force, taking into account, among other things, the protection of the family and especially the wife and children.  This action requires urgent attention because existing legislation does not respond to the new social reality of the country; and


2. The creation of the appropriate organizations and services for the family's integration, welfare, and social, cultural, and economic development.


5.4  Relationship with the General Plan of Government


            The Population Policy will be developed within the outlines, objectives and purposes of the General Plan of Government in its general ideals and in its particulars, within the context of the social policy, of which it is an integral part.  It is related directly and precisely to the policies of health and nutrition, education and culture, employment and social security, environment, housing, human settlements and displaced populations, and through all of these, with economic policy. 


            Its integration is realized through ideas, objectives, actions, and concrete strategies that, if they work well within the current global and sectoral plans and programs, have their own effect in advancing duly planned demographic results.



VI.  Objectives


6.1  General Objectives


-           To harmonize the demographic evolution of the country with the conditions and requirements of national development.


-           To achieve the participation of the population in the responsibilities and benefits of development.


6.2  Specific Objectives


-           To contribute to the expansion and improvement of health services in general and of reproductive health services in particular, especially in the rural and the marginal urban sectors, by means of a strategy of Primary Attention to Health.


-           To promote responsible fatherhood as a means of strengthening the family unit.


-           To strengthen the integral and harmonious development of the Salvadorean family, including the different members that comprise it, by satisfying their basic needs.


-           To promote the integral development of women, by improving the socio-economic conditions that assure their full enjoyment of their rights.


-           To aim at balanced distribution of the population in the national territory, taking into consideration the location of resources, the regional imbalances, and the socio-cultural characteristics of the population.


-           To contribute to social and labor protection, as much for internal migrants as for international ones, by applying the appropriate instruments and mechanisms.


-           To contribute to the resettlement of the population displaced by socio-political conflict and to caring for their fundamental needs.


-           To improve the understanding of population problems, their interrelationships with and implications for other aspects of national life, by increasing educational activities that serve as a basis for the transformation of conduct related to demographic phenomena within the family.


-           To contribute to the improvement of employment and income by means of measures that harmonize supply and demand in the work force.


-           To contribute to the improvement of the work force, by means of empowerment, in accord with the conditions and characteristics of the labor market.


-           To adjust population growth to the necessities of preservation, development, and use of natural resources and the environment.


-           To strengthen population planning systems, by better exploiting human resources, institutional development, and external cooperation.



VII.  Policy Measures and Strategies for Their Execution


Presented below are policy measures derived from the proposed objectives, as well as strategies for their execution in the different sectors of the Population Policy.


7.1  Population and Health


7.1.1.  Policy Measures


In the long run, the population and health policy measures outlined below will be developed through the National System of Health:


1. To expand and rationalize the administration and use of existing human, physical, and financial resources, in order to improve the quality and quantity of population and health services.


2. To expand the coverage of health services, giving priority to the rural population, with an emphasis on maternal child care and health education.


3. To promote community participation in population and health activities; and


4. To coordinate the participation of the government and private bodies in health activities directed towards cleaning, protecting, and developing the environment.


7.1.2.  Strategies


In the long run, population and health strategies should be implemented to create in the family a consciousness of the duties of each of the members to contribute to decreasing the rates of morbidity, mortality, and fecundity, in a way that is compatible with the requirements of national development.


1. An increase in the efficiency and the effectiveness of the distribution of population and health services by reinforcing:


-           Exploitation of human resources;


-           Internal coordination between the different institutions in the health sector;


-           Restructuring the health sector;


-           Political-administrative decentralization;


-           Attention to population by levels of risk and improvement of systems of reference and cross-reference of the system's users; and 


-           Use of technologies that are shown to be more effective in the solution of the population's health problems.

2. Establishment at a national level of a community health program that fully makes use of the strategic elements of primary health care; and


3. Strengthening of the national program of environmental restoration, by means of allocating the necessary resources so that it is operative and effective in changing the family structure.


7.2 Population and Family


7.2.1.  Policy Measures


1. To offer more and better opportunities of employment and income, as well as a greater coverage of basic social services designed to improve the conditions of life of the Salvadorean family.


2. To develop and apply the laws directed towards the protection of the family unit, especially those related to the mother and child.


3. To develop integral care programs for displaced families, which permit their effective participation in the economic and social development process.


4. To expand and improve the coverage of information, education, and communication services on population and reproductive health, especially in those sectors in which people live in marginal conditions.


5. To develop socio-cultural conditions that favor responsible fatherhood, with the goal of reducing the frequency of abandonment of the mother and child.


6. To promote activities that protect the elderly, especially the indigent elderly.


7. To support reproductive health programs by means of educational activities relating to information, education, and communication, which respond to a strategy of integral attention to health.


8. To increase activities that facilitate conscious and responsible parental decisions on the number of and spacing between their children.


9. To provide women with greater access to educational services at different levels and using different channels, as well as to employment and to social security; and


10. To strengthen institutional attention of the Community to abandoned minors and minors at risk, both physically and morally.


7.2.2.  Strategies


1. To encourage production and savings programs that generate better paid employment opportunities for the available work force, accompanied by measures to distribute generated income and to train the work force.


2. To promote greater understanding and compromise among the different economic, social, and political sectors, on the necessity of developing and applying legislation on social issues that protects the family unit with emphasis on the most vulnerable members.


3. To integrate the different activities developed by national and international agencies in a manner that permits adequate resettlement of displaced families.


4. To strengthen education and information activities on population issues, in support of the reproductive health and responsible fatherhood programs, taking advantage of the formal and informal educational channels.


5. To create consciousness, by means of educational activities, about the importance of elderly people within the society and to provide incentives for family, community, and Government participation in caring for their necessities.


6. To modify cultural patterns that discriminate against female participation in economic and social activities, by means of educational activities, supported in the different educational channels.


7. To involve the community in Government-developed programs designed for minors who are abandoned or at risk.


7.3  Spatial Distribution and Migration


7.3.1.  Policy Measures


1. To contribute, along with the responsible organizations, to regional and urban development activities that make less urgent the need to emigrate from rural areas and from small urban localities, as well as from the relatively less developed areas of the country.


2. To direct internal migration towards intermediate urban centers, reducing incentives to move to the capital of the Republic and its metropolitan area.


3. To protect the social and labor rights of migrants who leave the country and to create favorable conditions for their permanent settlement in their country of destination.


4. To aid in the stable resettlement of the displaced population, providing conditions that allow effective reintegration into labor, society, and the family.


5. To promote as a priority the integration of national and international efforts to resettle refugee populations.


6. To provide conditions that will allow migrants who wish to return to the countryside to reintegrate themselves into labor, society, and the family.


7.3.2.  Strategies


1. To systematize the administration and coordination of the different programs dealing with territorial distribution of the population.


2. To formulate and apply a regional development model to serve as an example for the sectors responsible for executing population policy activities at the regional and local levels.


3. To train human resources for the planning and administration of the regional and intersectoral development plans.


4. To organize community participation at the national, regional, and local levels so that the communities, in coordination with the State, participate in the creation and administration of the regional and urban development plans.


5. To strengthen the financing of municipalities, channeling to them the necessary resources, according to the provisions of the Municipal Code in force.


6. To protect and attend to the Salvadorean population abroad, in compliance with the international conventions on the rights of the migrant population.


7. To integrate plans to care for the repatriated population and to resettle the refugee population.


7.4  Population, Education, and Communication


7.4.1.  Policy Measures


1. To systematize information, education, and communication programs on population issues in order to create a community consciousness of demographic problems, family life, reproductive health, and the preservation and development of the environment.


2. To apply the current approaches and methodological processes found in the development curriculum, as much in the Formal Subsystem as in the Nonformal Subsystem, incorporating the Education in Population approach.


3. To institutionalize education and communication related to population issues in the different levels and educational channels of the country.


7.4.2.  Strategies


1. To increase non-formal educational activities that integrate the analysis of concrete demographic problems with the analysis of national realities.


2. To support the educational opportunities proposed by the Formal system of studies, to identify and analyze concrete population problems and proposals of solutions.


3. To support research into educational problems and their relationship to social, economic, and demographic phenomena.


4. To use the decentralization of educational services for coordinating education and communication activities on population at the regional level, and through their different levels and educational channels.


5. To train human resources capable of promoting and spreading information on the relationship between educational activities and demographic problems.


7.5  Population and the Work Force


7.5.1.  Policy Measures


1. To carry out studies and research on population, the work force, and the labor market that will permit the definition of activities making better use of the labor force and the formulation of an employment policy for the country.


2. To intensify human resources planning activities, with the goal of reaching a balance between the growth of the Economically Active Population (PEA) and the functioning of the labor market.


7.5.2.  Strategies


1. To develop an intensive program of population information, education, and communication, using the appropriate technological resources, with the goal of balancing the growth of the Economically Active Population with labor demand.


2. To extend educational coverage and increase the State's capacity to retain young persons within the educational system at different levels.


3. To improve family income, through compliance with the established legal provisions relating to the Public Sector rolls, with the goal of reducing the need for minors and elderly to work.


4. To improve understanding of the evolution of labor markets, with the goal of finding a better organization of these markets by means of relevant studies and the diffusion of the results.


 5. To improve the qualifications of the national work force, by institutionally strengthening labor training programs, to increase levels of productivity.


7.6  Population and Environment


7.6.1.  Policy Measures


1. To develop educational programs directed towards the development of attitudes and practices that emphasize the importance of the relationship between population growth and distribution and the availability and use of natural resources.


2. To develop in a systematic form, educational, legal, economic, and cultural activities that allow the population to participate in the rational use of natural resources.


7.6.2.  Strategies


1. To maintain a current diagnostic on the condition of the environment and its relationship to the population, with an emphasis on conservation of the soil, the forests, and the water.


2. To train human resources in the appropriate management of the relationship between the population and the environment.


3. To systematize and expand legal provisions that regulate the management of natural resources and the environment.


4. To promote the participation of family and community leaders in activities that preserve and develop the environment.


VII.  Operation of the Policy


8.1  Measures for Implementation


1. To adapt and develop a system of research and socio-demographic information, according to the needs of the Population Policy and the requirements of the State's planning activities in this area.


2. To define and execute a training program for human resources in the area of population, to support the execution of activities provided for in the Policy.


3. To adjust the institutional base for execution of the Policy.


4. To design and apply a permanent follow-up and evaluation system on the implementation of the National Population Plan of Action.


8.2  Strategies for Implementation


1. Community Participation


            The execution of the Policy will develop in a coordinated way through the activities of the participating groups, both governmental and non-governmental, as well as through the participation of all levels of society.  In this way, the active participation of the community will constitute one of the most important means of implementing the programs of the National Population Plan of Action.


2. Incorporation of the Family


            The family must become aware of its responsibility in the national demographic evolution and of its duty to contribute to the demographic changes that the country requires.  Therefore, in order to achieve their objectives, the programs must support the active participation and awareness of the family.


3. Efficient Administration


            The objectives of the policy will be achieved through the most efficient use of available resources.  Institutional reorganization, evaluation of human resources, redefinition of priorities, and improvement of governmental management, in coordination with the related sectors, will be indispensable conditions for this purpose.





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Reproductive Health: The harmonious functioning of all biological, environmental, genetic and social processes that control and define the reproductive process in the human being.  Reproductive health consists of five areas:


            -  Attention to the Mother


            -  Family Planning


            -  Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology


            -  Control of Sexually Transmitted Diseases


            -  Control of cervical-uterus and breast cancer



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