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Venezuela’s Health System In Disarray Amid Economic Crisis, Survey Shows; TB Cases Increase Significantly

New York Times: ‘We’re Losing the Fight’: Tuberculosis Batters a Venezuela in Crisis
“…Tuberculosis, a disease that until recently seemed to be under control in Venezuela, is making an aggressive comeback, overwhelming a broken health care system ill equipped for its return, doctors and infectious disease specialists say. The illness — like malaria, diphtheria, and measles — has surged in Venezuela during a profound economic crisis that has battered almost every aspect of life and driven an exodus of Venezuelans, including many experienced doctors. … [A]t two vital tuberculosis centers in Caracas, the capital, the share of new patients who tested positive for the disease increased 40 percent or more in the last year alone. Some experts fear that the death rate associated with the illness has increased as well…” (Semple/Herrera, 3/20).

Reuters: Venezuelan health system decays further, opposition-led survey says
“Venezuela’s health system is sinking into further disarray, a survey led by the opposition-dominated Congress showed on Monday, with most hospitals plagued by water outages, unable to feed patients, and lacking even basic devices like catheters. In the midst of a crushing economic crisis that has caused medicine shortages and emigration of doctors, President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government has stopped issuing weekly bulletins on health…” (Ulmer, 3/19).

Washington Post: Venezuelan hospitals are even worse off than we knew, an independent poll shows
“…The survey was conducted by Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly and the independent Doctors for Health Organization and went directly to doctors in 104 public and 33 private hospitals in 22 of 25 states. It found that drug shortages increased 33 percent over the past five years, reaching 88 percent in 2018, and that only about 10 percent of hospitals have fully functioning emergency and operating rooms. Even providing basic services has become an insurmountable task, according to the poll, with doctors in 79 percent of hospitals saying water is frequently unavailable and in 96 percent saying their kitchens cannot adequately feed patients…” (Krygier, 3/19).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.