Human Rights Watch released a report Thursday on the consequences of the Venezuelan health crisis and says the Venezuelan government is still denying the gravity of the problem.
Current data point to a comprehensive outbreak of diseases such as measles and diphtheria, a drastic increase in malaria and tuberculosis and almost complete lack of antiretroviral therapy in people with HIV. An increasing rate of malnutrition aggravates this health crisis and contributes to the fact that Venezuelans are more susceptible to infectious diseases and more often suffer from complications when they become ill.
A human rights team has been pursuing medical and healthcare professionals on the border with Colombia and Brazil to assess the extent of the humanitarian crisis that the Venezuelans are fugitive.
"The Venezuelan public health system collapsed and threatened the lives of an unpredictable number of Venezuelans," said Shannon Doocy, a professor at Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins, who was part of a team traveling to Venezuela. the border between Colombia and Venezuela. "The combination of an unsuccessful health system and a widespread food shortage has caused a humanitarian catastrophe that will continue to deteriorate unless it is urgently addressed."
The report states that the Venezuelan government has recently prevented transmission of data on the epidemiological situation in the country. Although the Department of Health is reporting some information to the Pan American Health Organization, the Department of Health in 2015 suddenly interrupted the dissemination of weekly updates of relevant health indicators.
HRW recalled that the then Minister of Health briefly resumed the publication of epidemiological bulletins in 2017, was immediately dismissed and said the government also rebuked the doctors who publicly expressed their fears about the crisis or attempted to disseminate data about it.
Read the detailed report below:
Venezuela currently has incidences of vaccine-preventable diseases that have been excluded from this country. This epidemic suggests that there are serious shortcomings in vaccination. According to the Pan American Health Organization:
More than 7,300 measles cases, including 5,500 confirmed cases and 64 deaths by September 2018, were reported in Venezuela in June 2017. No cases of measles occurred in Venezuela between 2008 and 2015, with the exception of one case in 2012. The incidence of the epidemic has widened to other countries in the region, and there are more than 10,000 suspected cases of measles in Brazil linked to the outbreak in Venezuela.
Between July 2016 and September 2018, more than 2,000 suspected cases of diphtheria were reported. More than 1,200 confirmed and more than 200 people died. On the other hand, between 2006 and 2015, no single case was recorded in Venezuela.
The number of suspected and confirmed malaria cases in Venezuela has risen steadily in recent years – from nearly 36,000 in 2009 to more than 406,000 in 2017, according to the World Health Organization. Currently there is epidemic malaria, which persists in more than nine Venezuelan states, according to an official document produced by the Panameric Health Organization, UNAIDS and the Department of Health of Venezuela. Health experts attribute this to a reduction in mosquito control activities, a lack of medication to treat illnesses, and illegal exploitation that promote mosquito reproduction by generating standing water.
The number of cases of tuberculosis reported in Venezuela increased from 6,000 in 2014 to 7,800 in 2016, and preliminary reports suggest that more than 10,000 cases occurred in 2017. Tuberculosis incidence in 2017 (32.4 per 100,000) It was the biggest thing that happened in Venezuela in 40 years.
Venezuela is the only middle-income country in the world where many HIV patients are forced to discontinue treatment because of the extensive lack of antiretroviral drugs. 87% of more than 79,000 people living with HIV who are registered to receive antiretroviral treatment from the Venezuelan government will not get it. The number of HIV cases recently detected in Venezuela increased by 24% between 2010 and 2016 and 6,500 new diagnoses in 2016. The actual number of new HIV infections is undoubtedly greater, especially since many health centers can no longer test HIV.
Maternal and child mortality
The latest official statistics from the US Department of Health suggest that in 2016 maternal mortality increased by 65% and infant mortality increased by 30% in just one year.
Medical complications suffered by patients in Venezuela are aggravated by severe food scarcity and restricted access to adequate nutrition. Many Venezuelans, among the dozens of people at the borders of Human Rights Watch and John Hopkins, reported losing weight and eating once or twice a day in their country. Some have been served only yucky or sardine.
Although the Venezuelan government has not published data on malnutrition since 2007, available information suggests that it will rise:
A representative national survey by three prestigious universities in Venezuela showed that 80% of Venezuelan households are harmless to food, which means they do not have a safe source of food and that the respondents lost an average of 11 kilograms in 2017.
The humanitarian organization Cáritas Venezuela, which monitors the nutritional situation and provides humanitarian aid to children in low-income communities in Caracas and in several states, reports that in children under five years of age, mild to severe acute malnutritions increased from 10% in February 2017 to 17% in March 2018 – Orientation level of the crisis according to the standards of the World Health Organization. In July 2018, Cáritas Venezuela said the average fell to 13.5%; the statistics were higher than the crisis levels in Caracas (16.7%) and Vargas (almost 20%).
Caritas survey in 2018 found that 48% of pregnant women in these low-income communities show mild or severe acute malnutrition.
Hospitals in different locations in the country report an increase in earnings for children with moderate or severe acute malnutrition, and the proportion of children admitted to acute malnourished hospitals is alarmingly high (from 18% to 40%) according to information provided by Human Rights Watch's Venezuelan health workers.
With information from Human Rights Watch
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