In 2019, Venezuela is in the grip of an ongoing and severe humanitarian crisis. Economic and political instability has led to the complete collapse of basic services in the country, including food shortages, lack of access to water, power blackouts, and a collapsing national healthcare system. Venezuela’s health system, once one of the best in Latin America, is now in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

 

What is IHP doing to help?

We are supporting our NGO partner International Medical Corps in Venezuela as it meets critical medical needs in some of the most vulnerable populations, including children under five, pregnant and nursing mothers and elderly adults. It’s also helping to meet the needs of people with chronic health conditions, those in need of emergency medical care, and displaced people.

 

In August 2019, we delivered more than 92,000 treatments to Venezuela. Among the treatments we sent were antibiotics and medicines to treat chronic diseases (such as high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes). These will be distributed by International Medical Corps through a local partner to local health facilities, to support the populations served by the facilities.

 

More about Venezuela 

Venezuela has been caught in a downward spiral for years. The country’s political problems are exacerbated by difficulties such as hyperinflation and shortages. In 2014, tensions reached a peak as Venezuela entered an economic recession, and the country responded with violent protests. By the following year, Venezuela had the highest inflation rate in the world at 181 percent, making it increasingly difficult for citizens to afford simple daily items.

More than 4 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015 in search of safety and stability. Overall, the situation has created one of the biggest mass displacements in the history of South America. Those left behind are facing a difficult future, with no sign that things will improve.

The statistics tell a bleak story:

 

The UN estimates that 2.8 million Venezuelans need healthcare. Of these, 300,000 people are at risk of dying from cancer, diabetes or HIV because they have not had access to medicine for more than a year. Along with these problems, difficulties with providing sanitation and access to water mean there’s a growing incidence of preventable diseases, such as diphtheria, malaria, measles, tuberculosis and hepatitis A.  

Additionally, nearly 22,000 doctors (one-third of the number who were previously in the country) have emigrated, driven out by issues such as shortages of medicine and equipment, poor pay, and difficult working conditions. Shortages of medicines and staffing have left hospitals operating with their capacity severely reduced. Since 2015, children have been among those worst affected, with the Venezuelan ministry of health’s most recent figures showing that infant mortality rose 30% in 2016.

 

Access to healthcare and medicines is one of the most urgent needs for Venezuelan people.

  • 79% of health facilities do not have access to water services, and suffer from power outages: this affects approximately 67,000 patients
  • Since 2014, shortages of essential medicines have increased by 30%
  • 7,300 cases of measles have been reported (since June 2017), along with 2,000 suspected cases of diphtheria (between July 2016 and September 2018) and 406,000 cases of malaria (a 69 percent year-on-year increase)

 

There are many people in turmoil around the world who need our help. We identify where need is greatest, and provide immediate and life-saving medical aid. With your support, we will continue to work with partners on-the-ground, like International Medical Corps, to make a difference.

 

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