Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Venezuelan Government Attacks Health Workers

Amnesty International lays out the dire situation Venezuelan health workers are in. Repression, economic collapse, and lying all fold in together. 50% of health workers have emigrated rather than deal with dangerous conditions where often they arrive at work hungry. This is pure brain drain. 

“The Venezuelan authorities are either in denial about the number of health workers to have died from COVID-19, or they do not have accurate information about the precarious conditions in hospitals and the dire need for better protection of staff and patients alike. Either way, the government is being utterly irresponsible,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.
Nobody believes anything the government says, and Venezuela is the only country in the hemisphere to imprison doctors who speak truth to power (and then drag them to military tribunals!). There is, of course, lots of tweeting about how successful everything is.

In fact, Maduro’s spokespeople almost don’t reference how medical personnel are being affected anymore; they have even criminalized them. On May 22nd, the Information minister, Jorge Rodríguez, said: “Assume that you’re standing in front of a COVID-19 patient. Follow the protocol, use facemasks. We’ve seen videos (…) where healthcare workers aren’t using them. They’re not using gloves, they’re not using the suits they were given to work on these patients.”

But the equipment hasn’t arrived. MUV began a campaign on July 23rd to promote donations of biosafety equipment, facemasks, face guards, gloves, surgical caps and scrubs; in Táchira, they reported shortages of up to 70%. In Caracas, Ana Rosario Contreras said that they’re being forced to reuse facemasks and scrubs, a problem already reported by Monitor Salud: in seven out of thirteen hospitals in Caracas, there are no facemasks available, and they’re forced to reuse them in ten of those hospitals. 

 No surprise, then, that Maduro already has people lined up to test the Russian vaccine.


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