Friday, January 25, 2019

A Tragedy in Venezuela

The new research, published in The Lancet Global Health journal, said that Venezuela is the only country in South America with infant mortality rates that have risen back to 1990s levels,  reversing the country's big reduction infant mortality rates over the past two decades.

Estimates using new data suggest that Venezuela's infant mortality rate - defined as the number of deaths under one year of age - was 21.1 deaths per 1,000 livebirths in 2016 - up by 1.4 times the rate in 2008. This is the equivalent to levels recorded in the late 1990s, meaning 18 years of progress may have been lost, researchers said.
"During the 2000s, Venezuela had created policies aimed at protecting their most vulnerable populations, but these efforts are not reflected in the avoidable death rates of Venezuelan children seen today," said study author, Jenny Garcia from France's Institut National d'Etudes Demographiques, Universite Paris 1 Pantheon. "Regrettably, the country is showing a deterioration of child survival for the first time," Garcia said in a statement.
Researchers blamed rising infant mortality rates on reduced state funding for healthcare from 2009 onwards, inflation, shortages of basic medicine, cuts in vaccination campaigns, declining patient-to-doctor ratios and fewer hospital beds.
"During important crises, the most common causes of death are the same as those reported in countries with the highest child mortality rates: diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory infections, measles, malaria, and severe malnutrition," Garcia said. "All these elements are present in Venezuela and will certainly adversely affect future infant mortality," she said.
Since 2016, the World Health Organization has reported an increase in infectious and parasitic diseases in Venezuela, which had been controlled or eradicated in previous decades, the study noted.

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