United States – Salesian health programs provide access to care for people living in poverty

07 April 2022

(ANS – New Rochelle) – Salesian missionaries offer more than 150 medical clinics and hospitals in mostly rural areas around the globe that serve a wide range of medical care needs. In many countries with Salesian programs, dental care and other necessary health services are offered to poor youth and their families who might otherwise have no access to health care. Honouring World Health Day, on April 7, Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, take an overview glimpse to the Salesian health programs that provide access to care for people living in poverty all around the world.

“The work of Salesian missionaries around the globe goes beyond education,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Salesians aim to serve the whole person by making sure that basic needs like health and nutrition are met in addition to other social service needs. This also includes care for the environment and combating the health conditions that arise as a result of pollution and other environmental impact.”

On World Health Day 2022, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight medical and health programs that provide critical services to those living in poverty.

Thanks to the collaboration between the Municipality of Araçatuba in Brazil and the Faculty of Medicine of UniSalesiano, the Salesian University in Araçatuba, the city has a new health center called Auxilium. The health center is centralizing specialist outpatient services to ensure efficient, systematized, and patient-centered health care.

The health center will have doctors available who specialize in cardiology, urology, otolaryngology, orthopedics, and angiology. There is also a multidisciplinary team made up of professionals in the areas of physiotherapy, nursing, nutrition, and social work, along with programs to treat patients with Hansen's disease and those undergoing ostomy. A gynecology clinic is equipped for all minor tests and surgeries.

Don Bosco University in San Salvador, El Salvador, is empowering the next generation of medical rehabilitation practitioners to transform the lives of people with mobile disabilities through its “Walking Anew!” project. This project was made possible thanks to a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID-ASHA) program secured by Salesian Missions.

With the new building, Don Bosco University is the first university in El Salvador with a building built under LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) parameters. The building has incorporated aspects related to energy efficiency, the use of alternative energies, the improvement of indoor environmental quality, the efficiency of water consumption, the sustainable development of open spaces on land, and the selection of environmentally friendly materials.

Substantial, too, was the Salesian contribution to the anti-contagious initiatives from Covid-19 during the most acute phases of the pandemic, especially during the second wave that struck the country in 2021. To give just a few examples:

The Salesian Province of Bangalore, BREADS, and the Youth Commission of the Archdiocese of Bangalore led by the Salesian Father Anil D'Sa facilitated initiatives to help those affected by COVID-19 in India. Health clinics were held to help vaccinate people and provide health kits for those in need.

Don Bosco Agricultural and Rural Development Service in Mandya also distributed health kits to frontline volunteers, social workers, and kindergarten teachers. Salesians in Bhadravati distributed health kits for residents of the Siddhartha Center for the Blind.

In the province of Hyderabad, over a thousand poor people received the free anti-Covid-19 vaccine during a campaign organized over a weekend in September by the Salesian groups "Bosco Shramika Mitra" and "Don Bosco Navajeevan". Among other significant initiatives launched by the same province, there is also an ambulance made available by the group of past pupils of the Don Bosco Institute of Mangalagiri, which transported the patients of Covid-19 and their families to and from hospitals.

Finally, for about two months, last May and June, the "Don Bosco" Youth Center of Shillong, in Northeast India, was transformed into a Care Center for those infected with Covid-19 and discharged from hospitals to make room for more seriously affected patients. In total, it accompanied over 60 people to full recovery.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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