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Venezuela: Urgent Aid Needed to Combat Covid-19
Venezuela's crumbling healthcare system isn't able to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is endangering patients and potentially contributing to spread of the virus throughout the region.
Dr. Kathleen Page and colleagues at Human Rights Watch and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have been researching Venezuela's healthcare and humanitarian crisis for some time
“The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and the breakdown of the health system have created dangerous conditions conducive to rapid community spread, unsafe working conditions for health personnel, and high mortality rate among patients in need of hospital treatment,” said Kathleen Page, a physician and faculty member of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Centers. “Venezuela’s lack of capacity to confront the Covid-19 pandemic may drive people to try to leave the country, further straining the health systems of neighboring countries and imperiling regional health more broadly.”
The team issued the following recommendations for the U.S. government:
- Clearly state again that no one will be penalized for financing or supplying humanitarian aid to Venezuela in this time of a public health crisis, and repeat that humanitarian aid is exempt from sanctions;
- Limit overcompliance, including by publicly providing concrete avenues for companies and organizations to channel humanitarian aid into Venezuela without excessive bureaucratic scrutiny or delays; and
- Actively support a robust UN-led humanitarian effort in Venezuela.