VENEZUELAS HEALTHCARE & REFUGEE CRISIS

Since 2015 nearly 3 million individuals have emigrated from Venezuela largely due to a humanitarian crisis. A large number of Venezuelans have relocated to Colombia, as the two countries share a border, resulting in a migrant crisis that is one of the largest in Latin America and second largest worldwide after Syria. The challenge of this mass exodus is the healthcare condition of Venezuelan refugees. Limited vaccination in Venezuela resulted in a resurgence of previously eradicated infectious diseases such as polio, diphtheria, and measles. Tuberculosis and Malaria cases are also on rise. Due to physicians and medicine shortage, maternal and child mortality rate has risen and diseases such as HIV are uncontrolled. Therefore, Venezuelan refugees require immediate healthcare services when arriving to receiving countries, both collapsing local healthcare systems and representing a public health threat if left untreated. Unfortunately, the increase in migrants to Colombia has also resulted in and increase in rates of malnourishment among Venezuelans. Venezuelans are limited in jobs, housing, and resources to address their basic needs both in their home country and in the receiving countries to which they are migrating to.

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In 2018 alone, there are more than 870,000 Venezuelan migrants in Colombia alone, with only 442,462 of these migrants capable of acquiring Permits of Permanence (PEP). PEP allows Venezuelans living in Colombia to access healthcare locally. This means that over half of the estimated displaced Venezuelans living in Colombia do not have access to healthcare, despite great government efforts. With 27% of Venezuelan migrants being children, and many more being women of childbearing age, there is a dire need for primary care, pediatric care, and obstetric care. With increasing HIV rates, malaria outbreaks, and rising rates of malnourishment, and limited healthcare resources present, the situation for Venezuelan’s living in Colombia is dire.

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Our Medical Missions to Venezuelan Refugees in Columbia 

MedGlobal is sending a scouting mission to Colombia in late November. The scouting mission will visit several cities to conduct a needs assessment and establish local relationships. MedGlobal will be working with the Colombian government to establish clinic sites in cities with large migrant populations that currently have no resources in place or clinics available to help with the migrant crisis.

After the scouting mission, clinics will be established and ongoing missions are estimated to start in late January. Right now, all specialties are encouraged to apply. Spanish speaking doctors and nurses preferred.  All interested practitioners, please submit an application through the link below and send an email to our Volunteer Coordinator: volunteer@medglobal.org