Salto is the capital city of the Salto administrative division in Uruguay. It is the second most populated city, after the capital of Montevideo, with a population of around 111,000 inhabitants.
A city built on hills, the vineyards in Salto are considered the best in the country. Agriculture remains a key contributor to the economy, particularly work on citrus fruit plantations. Amidst the picturesque landscape, thousands of residents occupy shanty towns as families continue to live in poverty.
Since 1985, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Salto.
There are many shantytowns on the outskirts of Salto. They are known as “Cantegrils” in Uruguay. The majority of the people who live here have moved from rural areas in hope of employment opportunities and a better life.
But living in these informal settlements, has its challenges. There is a lack of basic infrastructure like sanitation and access to clean water. Further, with slum areas located in the outskirts of the city, families are unable to access essential or support services like hospitals and day-care centres. Raising young children in an ill-equipped environment has a detrimental effect on their physical health and psychological development.
Salto is situated on the left bank of the Uruguay River and shares a border with Argentina. It is also precariously positioned near cities that are dengue endemic areas.
Over the years, Salto has developed into a space with a high risk of local dengue transmission. This has different reasons, for example 25% of homes do not have access to safe sanitation. The lack of basic housing infrastructure as well as proper sanitation in the shantytowns across Salto is one of the main reasons for the spread of many illnesses, including dengue.