Venezuela's invisible malaria problem

Malaria is endemic to the tropics. Years ago, Venezuela had erradicated the disease, but the country went to hell in a handbasket, so guess what? Malaria came back.

And it came back with a vengeance, to the point that in 2013 Venezuela recorded 76,621 cases, the highest tally in the history of the country (well, at least since statistics began to be compiled).

What happened in 2014? My friend, health policy expert Marino González, shares it with us in his blog.

He says the government simply stopped reporting the regular epidemiological reports that it had been publishing for years. The suspension came in late 2014, when Venezuela was on track to surpass the horrendous 2013 figures.

But it doesn’t stop there. According to Marino, not only is the government refusing to publish data, but they are simply not talking about the issue. There is no mention in the 750-page report from the Health Ministry to the National Assembly discussing the fight against malaria. There is no official policy on malaria eradication – no fumigation, no public awareness campaign, nada pana. No figures, no policies … no problem!

The Venezuelan government falsely claimed that malaria has always been present in Venezuela, but that they were engaging in efforts to erradicate it. Funny enough, when you Google “Venezuela campaña paludismo,” all the items you get are government news reports dating from November 2014, right about the time when they stopped publishing figures.

Malaria is one of those illnesses that affect the poor much more than the rich, harming rural areas more than urban ones – something to keep in mind when confronted with a propagandist who claims the Revolution “loves the poor.”

These are the voters the MUD should be going for … remember Parapara guys? Anyone?

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that in between their sordid internal squabbles, the MUD finds it in their hearts to speak about the issues that voters really care about.