The refrain is increasingly common among medical professionals in Venezuela, where acute shortages of food, drugs and sanitary products threaten to reverse decades of health gains.
Despite its immense oil wealth, the country is in the midst of devastating economic, social and health crises. It has the world’s steepest economic decline, the second highest murder rate and the sharpest-rising inflation (forecast to reach 2,200% by the end of next year, according to the International Monetary Fund).
These problems all converge in the nation’s hospitals, where doctors report rising levels of mortality thanks to a dire shortage of medical supplies, shutdowns of operating theatres, staff declines and violent crime, including gunshots during surgery and mugging in corridors.
For years, among the proudest boasts of the Bolivarian Socialist administration was that it eradicated hunger, reduced poverty and improved healthcare for the poor.
But the trend now appears to be moving in the opposite direction at an alarming speed. Reliable data is hard to find. The government has acknowledged that maternal mortality – a key healthcare indicator – has doubled in the past year. The opposition says the deterioration is five-fold – and that death of newborns increased 100-fold.
Hasn’t reached the comment pages yet but they are covering it.