Target: Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela
Goal: Save thousands of people from preventable deaths by enacting healthcare reform.
In Venezuela, countless patients in the country’s few hospitals are unable to access the necessary medical treatments they need due to the domestic government’s lack of budgeting expertise and pricing controls on pharmacies. Additionally, thousands of people are being wait-listed for potentially life-saving surgery because the country’s doctors lack access to medical materials and technology.
Currently, over 44 percent of the country’s operating rooms are not functional, while a staggering 94 percent of laboratories don’t have the materials they need to operate properly. Also, a recent dispatch report by Human Rights Watch revealed that over 60 percent of routinely stocked medicines and medical supplies, such as needles, catheters and antibiotics, were either partially or entirely nonexistent in hospitals.
At the heart of this crisis is the fact that Venezuela’s government has been blaming doctors and leading pharmacy chain directors for failing to do their jobs, thus failing their patients, when in reality it’s the government’s responsibility to provide adequate healthcare and medicines for the general population. In fact, under international human rights law, governments are obligated to ensure the availability and accessibility to life-saving technologies and medical equipment.
In 2014, Venezuela’s public hospitals actively wait-listed a shocking 20,000 patients for surgery, with more than ten of those patients dying after a hospital disbanded its cardiology unit. An investigation led by Doctors for Health revealed that doctors in Venezuela sterilize and reuse masks due to shortage, and that physicians faced grave diagnostic challenges because they lack access to essential supplies like lab tubes and test kits.
The country’s dire healthcare situation has also caused a sharp increase in mosquito-transmitted viral diseases, such as chikungunya and dengue fever, since hospitals are unable to properly diagnose diseases or treat them due to shortages of medicines and inadequate technology.
Venezuela’s government should make healthcare a top priority by providing the country’s doctors and nurses with the necessary tools and medicines to heal the ailing and save the lives of the dying. Sign the petition to urge President Nicolas Maduro to enact healthcare reform.
Dear President Maduro,
To say that Venezuela’s healthcare crisis is dire is an understatement. Countless patients are unable to access life-saving treatments and medicines due to the country’s shortage of essential supplies, while most die from being placed on waiting lists–some of them 20,000 names long–to receive surgeries or medicines.
Of the utmost priority for any country is the health and well-being of its population. It is clear to me that Venezuela’s government cares nothing about its people, as it allows them to perish under these largely avoidable circumstances.
The country’s ridiculous monetary exchange restrictions and price controls cause pharmacies to charge the largely impoverished population outrageous prices on medicines and equipment. And, due to such large demand, many pharmacies in the country deplete their inventories almost immediately and receive no help to replenish them.
Under international human rights law it is illegal for a government to deny its population access to medicine, technology and medical equipment that is imperative to the overall health and well-being of its citizens. Currently, only war zones lack access to essential medicines and since Venezuela is under no strife in that sense, it seems absurd that things like test tubes, antibiotics and even masks are largely unavailable throughout the entire country.
I urge you to enact universal healthcare reform immediately and grant the country’s citizens access to life-saving treatments and basic medical equipment and technologies.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: selmaemiliano