Rise in Starving Children Puts Strain on Venezuela’s Hospitals

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Jun 8, 2016, 1:45 pm
malnutrición Venezuela
Parents are forced to make dangerous sacrifices for their children, that still results in malnutrition in Venezuela.(Radio la Primerísima)

EspañolThe increasing shortage of food and other basic products in Venezuela, on top of inflation, is now takingits toll on the health of the nation — most notably, on its malnourished children.

Children frequently arrive to the San Felipe Central Hospital after having fainted from malnourishment, officials told the PanAm Post, and are given medicine to take three times a day,

Mothers tell physicians they don’t have enough food in their homes, even after rationing.

“Children under five months of age come in here with diarrhea and when the parents are asked what the child has been eating, they say mostly rice cream because they can’t get milk,” one hospital worker said.

The same source confirmed parents blame themselves because they don’t have the salary or access to staple foods to improve the situation.

“You can’t feed a five-month-old on rice,” the source said, “and it’s going to affect their long-term health.”

The source reported with concern that hospital personnel — from maintenance staff to doctors — have asked for help from the hospital in getting food for their own families, as the hospital has an agreement with state-owned state supermarkets for food delivery not normally available to the regular public. The source said there are situations in which employees have taken the food without permission and brought it home.

Though the hospital has the convenience of supplying food to its patience, it lacks many essential medical supplies it needs to keep patients alive — from yelco to oxygen tanks.

Hospital even lacks trash bags and cleaning products necessary for maintaining the most basic of hygienic environments. Directors of the hospital said there are no funds to buy these things, let alone more urgent medical supplies.

Doctors in the hospital following the healthcare situation nationwide noted that almost none of them have the protein patients desperately need.

“No chicken, no beef, no fish, none of that,” one of them said. “The patients get cheese, rice, fruit, but nothing that they need for recuperating.”

El Nacional published a report on Tuesday, June 7, in which it said the Ministry of Health has even stopped providing food to patients.

The story reported that three days after the Dr. José Marías Vargas Hospital in Caracas will be without food, the doctors had to treat a patient for a vascular lesion caused from hunger.

According to the newspaper, the patient preferred to postpone surgery because he was “the breadwinner of the house,” and had already been a month in the hospital. The doctors tried to persuade him that he could die from internal bleeding it it wasn’t treated.

Children dying of hunger

In the interior of Venezuela — more so than near its borders — the situation is unimaginably bad and worsening every day. Radio Fe y Alegría said two children have died from malnutrition in la Guajira in the western part of the country.

Ligia González, eight months old, died last Saturday. This Monday, two-month-old Elver González also passed. Both were critically malnourished, according to local media.

A study done this year by Venebarómetro found that the food and economic crisis in Venezuela has forced 90 percent of people to buy less food than they had in years past, and 29 percent of them to only eat three times per day.

The study also revealed that 70.5 percent of Venezuelans rated the economic situation as “poor” while 89.7 of those surveyed said they didn’t have sufficient money for clothes. Also, 79.6 percent said their income is insufficient for buying food and medicine.

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Brazil: Attorney General Demands Jail Time for Top Senator

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Jun 8, 2016, 10:19 am

EspañolBrazil's Attorney General Rodrigo Janot reportedly requested the country's Supreme Court imprison current President of the Senate Renan Calheiros — along with Senator and former Minister of Planning Romero Jucá and former President José Sarney, according to Brazilian media outlets. The politicians had allegedly been trying to obstruct corruption investigations into the largely state-owned oil company Petrobas, according to a report published Tuesday, June 6 in the Brazilian newspaper O Globo. All of the officials mentioned by the Attorney General are high-standing members of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), which is also the party of interim President of Brazil Michel Temer. He assumed the position following the suspension de Dilma Rousseff in May. According to O Globo, the Attorney General had examined the series of recordings turned over by a member of the PMDB in exchange for a reduced sentence. The tapes, which were obtained by the media in May, suggest Jucá, Calheiros and Sarney were looking for a way to have Rousseff dismissed so as to obstruct ongoing investigations into corruption affecting the most influential politicians and businessmen in the country. Jucá stepped down from his position as Minister of Planning after the recordings came to light. // The Attorney General asked that Sarney, 86, be put on house arrest, with an electronic bracelet attached to his ankle. He also called for the removal of Renan Calheiros as Senate President. Read More: Brazil’s Interim Adminstration Loses Second Official Over Audio Leaks Read More: Minister Steps Down After Leak Hints Corruption Plot The prison request will be evaluated by the Supreme Minister Teori Zavascki, who was reportedly surveying the opinions of colleagues over the last few days. Leaks of compromising conversations in the PNDB have put criticisms against Temer's government front and center. Temer came to power once congress approved the impeachment process against Rousseff. Senator Aécio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, who faced off against Rousseff in the last election, was accused this Monday of obstructing justice in an anti-corruption investigation case. Source: El País.

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