Collapse of Health System Sends Venezuelans Fleeing to Brazil for Basic Meds

Post Date: 
2019-02-05
Source: 
NPR

. . . Millions of Venezuelans have fled the country since Maduro took office. Late last year, Dr. Kathleen Page, an infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, visited border towns in northern Brazil that are now hosting tens of thousands of migrants. Page, who is originally from Uruguay, says the local Brazilian hospitals are overwhelmed with incredibly sick people. In the HIV wards, she felt as if she were stepping back in time to the early days of the AIDS crisis.

"I was not a doctor in the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic started. But I know what happened, and I felt that in these wards I was going back to the 1980s," Page says.

"People were basically dying of opportunistic infections. They were emaciated, dying of chronic diarrhea, infections in their brain — things that we know are treatable and preventable. And to give credit to the Brazilian doctors, they were doing everything they could to help people, but the hospitals were at capacity."