Women’s Health At Risk In Venezuela
The economic crisis in Venezuela has been reportedly damaging the health and livelihoods of its citizens, according to news outlets this week. Women, in particular, are now facing the dangerous consequences of Venezuela’s damaged healthcare systems.
Despite the remarkable sociopolitical and economic progress Venezuela experienced at the turn of the century up until 2012, Venezuela has now entered the realm of economic crisis once the country’s oil industry began a downward spiral.
New reports from sources like the New York Post have claimed the inflation rate is primarily due to the socialist system employed by Venezuela in the last few years. The inflation rate is an amazing 43,378% but this number is only expected to increase.
While everyone in the country is suffering the disastrous effects of hospital supply shortages, the lack of contraceptives — nearly a 90% drop in available stock — has led to increased rates of STDs, illegal abortions, and sterilizations.
Access to healthcare is essential for the livelihood and well-being of thousands of Venezuelan citizens. Venezuela has consistently had high rates of teen pregnancy, one of the largest in the world. The maternal mortality rate is only expected to increase due to the lack of medical supplies and personnel.
In only six months, the value of the Venezuelan bolivar has plummeted. One U.S. dollar used to get you 200,000 bolivars in January: in July, one dollar is the equivalent to 3.4 million bolivars.
Even if Venezuela had the medical supplies and personnel they need, it is unlikely that the average citizen would be able to afford to seek healthcare at this time. While an estimated 47.2% of adults in the U.S. have a form of periodontal disease, this number is likely much higher for Venezuelans who cannot afford access to dental care.
Because of the current healthcare crisis in Venezuela, many of its citizens have begun emigrating out of the country in the hopes they can find better healthcare elsewhere. Brazil and Columbia, two neighboring countries to Venezuela have reportedly gained up to 5,000 Venezuelan immigrants a day, according to The Conversation.
Up to 40% of these immigrants are Venezuelan women, many of those who fear to receive inadequate OBGYN care in Venezuela.
It can be hard to comprehend this humanitarian disaster, especially in the distant United States. This is mind-boggling when nearly 15 million Americans are able to receive replacements for something as minor as missing teeth. Meanwhile, the maternal mortality rate of women has increased by 65% in the span of one year in Venezuela.
Luckily, many of Venezuela’s neighboring countries and multinational organizations have begun to condemn Maduro’s authoritarian government that is putting his citizens at risk. It has yet to be seen if these isolation tactics will pay off and enable Venezuelan citizens to get the help they desperately need.