During 2017, at least six children died a week from malnutrition. It is estimated that in 2018 about 280,000 may die for the same cause
Minors are one of the most affected by the health crisis in Venezuela. The shortage of medicines, according to the NGO Convite, already exceeds 88% in 2018. This has been one of the most important causes for the increase in the infant mortality rate.
Leer en español: Cada día la escasez y la desnutrición matan a niños venezolanos
The numbers of child deaths are not clear. The Ministry of Health of the country maintains a policy of opacity since in 2017 Antonieta Caporale (former minister of health) released the official data of 2016, which accounted for the increase in infant mortality by 30%. Shortly after she was fired.
Despite the absence of official figures, various independent institutions have tracked these deaths. According to a report by Cecodap, an institution that defends children's rights, only 80 children died in 2017 due to lack of medication.
The children's hospital J.M. de los Ríos, the main health center for minors located in the Venezuelan capital, is a reflection of this situation. According to Katherine Martínez, director of the NGO Prepara Familia, an infectious outbreak in the nephrology area of the hospital caused the death of 10 children in 2017, and that same year the transplant service was suspended until now.
Cecodap also warned in its Somos Noticia report that 213 children died in Venezuela due to nosocomial contamination, and it is believed that the figure has been growing since then.
Mothers of children interned in this medical center have made several protests in 2018. Death complaints due to lack of supplies do not cease. As Convite points out, "100% of laboratories in the country do not work as they should due to lack of reagents; 270 people with hemophilia are in danger, as are transplant patients who struggle to preserve their organs. "
As reported by Convite also adds another alarming figure: 100% of radiotherapy services do not work throughout the country, as denounced by the deputy opposition to the National Assembly José Manuel Olivares. Who is a doctor by profession and doctor at the University Hospital of Caracas.
As if the shortage of medicines was not enough concern for parents with sick children, another element adds to the causes of infant death in the oil country is malnutrition. The organization Cáritas de Venezuela reported that during 2017 at least six children died weekly from malnutrition throughout the country, and it is estimated that by 2018 some 280,000 may die from the same cause.
The same organization stated in its most recent report that "the total proportion of children with malnutrition in all its forms (acute, mild, moderate, severe malnutrition and risk of having it) increased from 67% to 78% from the last quarter of 2017".
The United Nations Organization has warned about the acute health crisis in the country, however, the regime of Nicolás Maduro - which controls the public distribution of medicines and food - has repeatedly refused to open a humanitarian channel that would allow the international aid.
Latin American Post | Jhon G. Lindarte
Translated from 'Cada día la escasez y la desnutrición matan a niños venezolanos'