Spanish – Venezuela has 14 reported deaths of doctors due to the coronavirus, a number that is increasing and, according to the National Assembly, could make the country the nation with the highest death rate of doctors in the region.
Cuatro fallecimientos de personal de salud en las últimas 24Hs con criterios para covid-19 eleva la cifra a 14. Un médico y una enfermera en Zulia, un medico en Lara y un médico con probable Dx de Covid-19 en el Edo Bolivar enlutan a los gremios de la salud y a familiares. QEPD. pic.twitter.com/BeRPp4jMfL
— Médicos Unidos Vzla (@MedicosUnidosVe) July 10, 2020
On July 10, two anesthesiologists died in Venezuela by COVID-19- Dr. Nellys Hernández in Zulia State and Dr. Rafael Paez Hermoso in Caracas. The latter is the first such case in the Venezuelan capital. A dozen other doctors died in Venezuela after being infected with the Chinese virus.
The shortage of biosafety supplies for medical personnel and the collapse of the health system have become the trigger for the risk of contagion for all those working in health centers.
There have been numerous complaints about the conditions in which Venezuelan doctors are working. On Tuesday, July 14, nurses and doctors at the Ruiz y Páez type IV hospital in Ciudad Bolívar reported that they are not being provided with the necessary biosecurity supplies to attend patients with COVID-19. They do not have gloves, biosecurity suits, masks, face shields, or sanitizers.
“Medical and nursing personnel are going to die. Today, some of the badly-affected patients are doctors and nurses in the COVID-19 unit because we don’t have any protective equipment,” a representative of the College of Nurses told the Caroní Post Office.
Likewise, the medical guild of the states of Táchira and Bolívar has lamented the vulnerable condition, given the spread of COVID-19.
“We are exposed to a lethal virus,” the representative of United Doctors of Venezuela, Omar Vergel, told Efecto Cocuyo.
Congressman José Manuel Olivares, who has followed the health crisis and the critical situation caused by the pandemic, has reported that at least three states in the country have exceeded their hospital capacity.
“Caracas is also close to the edge. Three doctors and one nurse have died in the last 48 hours because there is no protective equipment. The dictatorship continues to blame others, instead of providing solutions,” the deputy said.
Ya 3 estados del país sobrepasaron su capacidad hospitalaria. Ccs también está cerca de llegar al límite.
3 médicos y 1 enfermera han fallecido en las últimas 48 hrs porque no hay material de protección la dictadura sigue culpando a otros, en vez de dar soluciones. pic.twitter.com/rxBmFG4xiD
— Jose Manuel Olivares (@joseolivaresm) July 11, 2020
The country facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis with a very poor health system is now witnessing the collapse of the hospitals in Maracaibo due to the novel coronavirus. This situation could be replicated throughout the territory and would put Venezuela in an extremely difficult scenario.
As more doctors succumb to the disease, the medical community’s expectations about the interim government’s April promise of 100 USD per month in aid for health workers in Venezuela are rising.
“During three months of the pandemic, we will directly support our doctors, nurses, and hospital workers with 100 USD per month to protect and save lives,” Guaidó promised; However, at this point, after three months, it is not clear what happened to that offer.
¿Algún médico que me sigue ha recibido los 100 $ que se prometieron desde el Gobierno Interino?
— Marcos G Morin Aguirre (@Mmorin_informa) July 14, 2020
While Venezuelan doctors feel abandoned by Nicolás Maduro’s regime and the interim government, cases of coronavirus continue to rise in the country.
According to official figures, the nation has reached 9,707 infections of coronavirus and 93 deaths. Overall, there are 6,943 active cases, and 99% of patients are admitted to public sector hospitals.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has warned that most tests in the country are quick tests, and therefore, unreliable. The actual number of people infected could be much higher than what the authorities have reported.
The Pan American Health Organization considers Venezuela one of the most vulnerable countries in Latin America to the pandemic, while the National Survey of Hospitals, prepared annually by the organization Doctors for Health, detected significant deficiencies in medical centers.
53% of hospitals did not have masks, thus increasing the risk of health professionals becoming major spreaders of the virus. Meanwhile, the shortage of medicines and the lack of water in many hospitals prevails in the country, making the crisis worse.
A survey conducted by the National Assembly’s Health Experts Commission revealed that 74.6% of Venezuelans do not have access to a constant water supply. This makes it difficult for them to comply with the frequent hand washing that is recommended as the first preventive measure against the coronavirus.
Food is also scarce. According to the United Nations World Food Program, one-third of the Venezuelan population faces food insecurity.