The sick man at Orinoko - disease risk in Venezuela

The sick man at Orinoko - disease risk in Venezuela

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Venezuela is not only deeply involved in an economic and political crisis - there is now an acute risk that infections will spread to epidemics.

Infectious diseases on the rise

The state health care system has crumbled, countless doctors have fled the country, and former disease prevention programs no longer exist. Tropical diseases caused by insects explode: malaria, dengue and zika virus infections.

Malaria infections more than tenfold

In 2010, 30,000 Venezuelans contracted malaria, and in 2017 there were 411,000. Scientists were that soon malaria could no longer be controlled.

Cause: disintegration of state structures

The reasons for the spread of malaria are the lack of medication and the inadequate control of the mosquitoes that transmit the pathogen - this is because the state health system has collapsed.

From the doctor of the south to the sick man at the Orinoco

Venezuela was considered a superstar in the fight against malaria in the 1960s. In 1961 the disease was wiped out in large parts of the country. But now there is hyperinflation and there is a lack of foreign exchange and, consequently, everything: Food is just as lacking as medicines and hygiene products.

Doctor protests

Today doctors protest against the government of Nicolás Maduro. He refuses to allow humanitarian organizations to enter the country while the hospitals have no medication. Medicines for the sick population are available directly at the border. Maduro claims, however, that this is a military intervention.

Not even chlorine

Not only are medicines missing in the clinics. Even chlorine to clean the hospitals is not available. In the hospitals, sick people contract other diseases.

Problem for South America

The infections do not stay in Venezuela. To escape the catastrophe, 5,500 people left the country every day in 2018 - especially to neighboring countries such as Brazil and Colombia. And in the neighboring state of Roraima, the cases of malaria doubled.

Clientelism and Kleptocracy

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and is actually one of the richest countries. But it drowns in its oil and starves to its wealth. The oil wealth caused a clientele and pension economy in which the respective rulers showered their followers with benefits, while there were hardly any paved roads in the interior.

In the abyss

The "Bolivarian movement" that brought Hugo Chávez to power, and thus indirectly to the Kleptocrat Maduro, came to change the screaming social injustice. But today it is worse than ever, and in this country, which is rich in itself, children die from diseases that should no longer have existed. Medicine from the rainforest would be a huge resource, but now the tropical forest is becoming a danger - as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

Video: Behind the Protests in Caracas: Venezuela Rising (January 2023).