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Venezuela’s Patients Suffer as Medicine Barely Enough to Keep Hospitals Running

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Jul 18, 2016, 4:15 pm
The scarcity on supplies and medicine is killing Venezuelan kids (Punto muerto noticias)
The scarcity on supplies and medicine is killing Venezuelan kids (Punto muerto noticias)

EspañolChildren are dying in Venezuelan hospitals amid critical scarcity of medical supplies.

CNN recently documented the danger patient lives are put in as a result.

Its a tough report to sit through, as it shows desperate mothers suffering without medicine in deplorable hospital conditions across the country.

Children with cancer and chronic diseases, among other things, debate between life and death. President Nicolás Maduro’s adminstration refuses to admit that the situation is a humanitarian crisisthat might lead to aid being delivered to sick patients.

CNN reported on at least four children who died in hospitals from cancer after not being able to access necessary medications. The few medications that are available can only be found on the black market at huge markups that nearly no one can afford.

In the same report, Doctor Huniandes Urbina showed the disastrous conditions of the Venezuelan hospitals. A member of the Venezuelan Pediatric Society, he said many of patients are in dire condition. Many of the hospitals lack enough staff members or air conditioning, while being full of leaks and abandoned halls.

President of the Venezuelan Medical Federation (FMV) Douglas León Natera said in June that the scarcity of medicine in pharmacies and hospitals in the country had reached 90 percent. According to the specialist, the most critical point was the lack of medicine.

Secretary General for the Organization of American States Luis Almagro expressed his concern over the commotion and situation children in Venezuelan hospitals face.

“What hits harder is the human situation, specifically the children — the health of infants that haven’t been able to leave hospitals for lack of medicine,” he said.

Almagro said the hospital situation in Venezuela is a “harsh blow for any human sensibility.”

President of FMV León Natera said the country’s hospitals are operating at barely five percent.

“Government officials are laughing at the doctors, at the pain and at the suffering of citizens. And then go to OAS to say a load of lies,” he said.

Natera added that in the Children’s Hospital J.M. de los Ríos there are 5,600 patients still waiting for surgeries and said “the future of Venezuela is dying there.”

Health Minister Luisana Melo told Venezuelan media there is “only a 25 percent medicine scarcity.”

“There is no such deficit, only lack of one medicine, which is about to get here in a week,” Melo said in reference to HIV regulation medicines.

“It doesn’t matter if we don’t have Tachipirin or Atamel, we have to look for the active ingredients, which is what cures the disease,” she said.

Venezuela strikes international agreements

The Special Rapporteur on the right to health reminded the Venezuelan government of article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that forces nations to facilitate essential medicines and to adopt legal and administrative measures to guarantee access to those medicines. Venezuela ratified this Covenant May 10, 1978.

“As part of the right to health, governments are obligated to adopt the necessary legal and administrative measures to guarantee access to essential medicines,” the Rapporteur said in a July 20, 2015 press release that was made public almost a year later.

The UN recently expressed its concern over the worsening of the under supply that it started to denounce in 2014. It also mentioned the harassing of activists that have been trying to denounce the problem in international bodies.

“We would like to express our serious concern over the alleged worsening of the under supply of medical supplies and medicines,” wrote the Rapporteur to the Venezuelan government. “This has a serious impact in the right to health of the population. In particular, we’re concerned over the lack of treatment with Prednisona, essential for transplants, lupus, arthritis and cancer. Likewise, we would like to express our serious concern over the alleged harassing, intimidation and retaliations by public authorities against defendants to the right to health.”

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

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