Venezuela’s infant mortality rose 30 percent last year, maternal mortality shot up 65 percent and cases of malaria jumped 76 percent, according to government data, sharp increases reflecting how the country’s deep economic crisis has hammered at citizens’ health.
The statistics, issued on the Venezuelan Ministry of Health’s Web site after nearly two years of data silence from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s left-wing administration, also showed a jump in illnesses such as diphtheria and the Zika virus.
It was not immediately clear when the ministry posted the data, although local media reported on the statistics on Tuesday.
Recession and currency controls in the oil-exporting South American nation have slashed both local production and imports of foreign goods and Venezuelans are facing shortages of everything from rice to vaccines. The opposition has organized weeks of protests against Maduro, accusing him of dictatorial rule and calling for elections.
In the health sector, doctors have emigrated in droves and patients have to settle for second-rate treatment or none at all.
A leading pharmaceutical association has said about 85 percent of medicines are running short.
Venezuelans often barter medicine, post pleas on social media, travel to neighboring countries if they can afford it, or line up for hours at pharmacies.
The health ministry had stopped releasing figures after July 2015, amid a wider data blackout. It was not clear why it published this latest batch of data.
Its statistics for last year showed infant mortality last year climbed 30.12 percent to 11,466 cases. The report cited neonatal sepsis, pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome and prematurity as the main causes.
Hospitals often lack basic equipment such as incubators and pregnant women are struggling to eat well, including taking folic acid, factors that can affect a baby’s health.
Maternal mortality, or death while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of a pregnancy, was also up, rising 65.79 percent to 756 deaths, the report said.
The ministry did not respond to a request for further information.
Maduro’s administration says a coup-mongering elite is hoarding medicines to stoke unrest.
While Venezuelans are acutely aware of the country’s health issues, the ministry’s statistics bulletin shocked some in the medical community.
Doctors say the health bulletins, meant to be released weekly, should be published in a timely fashion to alert medical practitioners to national trends and threats.
There were 240,613 cases of malaria last year, up 76.4 percent compared with 2015, with most cases of the mosquito-borne disease reported in the rough-and-tumble Bolivar State.
Cases of Zika rose to 59,348 from 71 in 2015, reflecting the spread of the mosquito-borne virus around Latin America last year.
There was no data for likely Zika-linked microcephaly, where babies are born with small heads, although doctors say there have been at least several dozen cases.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
‘CHAPITOS’: An ex-DEA agent said the sons of the former cartel head are engaged in a battle for control, with the health of the man temporarily in charge a factor The fight for control of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s legacy spilled into the open on Thursday after a gun battle between rival Mexican gangs left 16 dead, authorities said. The 16 men, heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests, died in a six-hour running shootout near the rural town of Tepuche in northwestern Sinaloa province. “A van with seven bodies was located” after an initial clash, while nine bodies were discovered following a second exchange, Sinaloa Minister of Security Cristobal Castaneda told reporters. Castaneda said that Wednesday’s clash near Tepuche, 25km from the capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan, was “part of a struggle