Venezuela has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as political disputes reach new heights. This comes on top of years of economic and political crises which have had a major impact on people’s daily lives. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been providing medical care in Venezuela since 2015. Kristel Eerdekens, MSF operations coordinator, describes our work in the country.
What is MSF doing in Venezuela?
Today, MSF has four medical programs in Venezuela. Working alongside local organizations and public institutions, we provide medical and psychological assistance to victims of violence and sexual violence in Caracas, one of the most violent cities in the world. We promote a comprehensive approach, combining medical and psychological care, in which sexual violence is seen as a medical emergency.
In recent years we have also supported the malaria program in Sifontes municipality, in Bolivar state—an area with many informal gold mines, which attract people from across the country. Malaria has spread rapidly through the region due to the highly mobile population, the poor conditions in which they are living, and a very under-resourced malaria control program. In 2018, MSF teams tested 220,354 people for malaria and treated 137,936 people for the disease. We also distributed 20,000 mosquito nets and sprayed 3,900 households in order to prevent new infections.