Page Urges UN Security Council to Declare Venezuela Humanitarian Crisis

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By many indicators, the economic and political crisis in Venezuela has set public health back decades. Widespread shortages of food, medicine, and supplies have led to malnutrition and a dearth of health care for chronic and critical conditions. Not surprisingly, there has been a dramatic uptake in morbidity for diseases once all but eliminated. 

Dr. Kathleen Page and colleagues at Human Rights Watch and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have been working on this issue for some time. In conducting both reviews of available country health data and field studies at hospitals in neighboring Colombia and Brazil that are dealing with large influxes of Venezuelan patients, the research team has chronicled grave issues. Venezuelans are cut off from life saving healthcare.

Published in the report,Venezuela's Humanitarian Emergency, the team's findings have garnered international attention and were the focus of an April 2019 UN Security Council Briefing. According to a UN News report, the Council was informed that:

  • 3.7 million people are believed to been affected by undernourishment last year. 
  • 2.8 million people are estimated to be in need of health services.  
  • 400,000 cases of malaria were reported in 2017,  which represents a 70% increase from the prior year.  
  • 17% of people living in poverty have no safe drinking water, or receive it only twice monthly. 
  • 2.7 million vulnerable people are in need of protection assistance.  

Learn more about the crisis in Venezuela below; the research team published findings in The Lancet, issued a report, and created a video, and the UN Security Council Briefing was widely covered in the press.