Crisis Without Borders

Venezuela’s descent into disaster is spreading health concerns to neighboring countries, NPR’s Jason Beaubien reports.
 
A measles outbreak that started in Venezuela in 2017 has spilled over into Brazil, and cases are popping up in Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile and Peru. Refugees with HIV and other diseases are straining clinics cross-border.

Malaria is “probably the saddest story” of Venezuela’s health system collapse, Alberto E. Paniz-Mondolfi, a doctor at Venezuela’s IDB Biomedical Research Institute told Outbreak News Today. Once a malaria control pioneer, the country is today approaching half a million cases per year—posing a huge risk to its neighbors. 92% of Colombia’s imported malaria cases between 2016-2018 can be traced to Venezuela, Paniz-Mondolfi says.
 
Paniz-Mondolfi gave some alarming insight into what it’s like to be a doctor in Venezuela: “It’s absolutely prohibited to list malaria as a cause of death on a death certificate”—and there’s a national guard standing over you when you sign them, he says.

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