Lunch Break: Public Health News, The Worst Part of Thursday

The WHO report in Venezuela and the coronavirus pandemic were the most important news yesterday; Deputy Ismael León is still illegally detained and the firm Foley & Lardner LLP rejected Maduro’s offer

Photo: Vox, retrieved.
  • NGO Organización Médicos por la Salud (OMS), responsible for the National Hospital Survey, presented on Thursday their 2019 report. Dr. Julio Castro highlighted the enormous failures in public services from 2019: “79% of hospitals reported severe shortcomings in running water service, most of them only get water two or three days a week.” Lack of water or electricity are still common in hospitals: “500 hours per month of power failures in public health centers.” Deaths in the ER, because of lack of power, decreased during the second quarter, thanks to emergency power plants donated by the Red Cross and Unicef. 
  • Julio Castro talked about violence in health centers, highlighting the numbers in Nueva Esparta and Caracas. In 33 out of 40 hospitals, patients’ families attacked medical personnel (662 cases in the year), as did state security officers. They reported robberies in 30 out of 40 hospitals that participated in the survey (490 cases). Castro assured that 23% of avoidable deaths are because of shortages of supplies, which doesn’t allow for providing services to emergency patients. In 2019, 2,602 cardiovascular deaths and 2,256 deaths because of trauma could have been avoided. Asthma medication, hypertensives and morphine are the hardest to find. The states presenting worse shortages are Zulia, Táchira and Mérida. “No ERs have closed for lack of personnel, most of them are operating with failures,” said Castro and they operate with 60% residents who are still training, 30% attending and 10% communal doctors. 
  • More on health: Julio Rangel, an 11-year-old patient in the Hematology wing of J. M. de los Ríos Children’s Hospital, died waiting for a bone marrow transplant and is the first child to die in the Hematology wing this year; Staff of the Erasmo Meoz University Hospital, in Cúcuta, presented OBGYN figures: 506 babies were born from January 1st to 27th, and 406 have Venezuelan parents, meaning 80% of births in January 2020. The number of female Venezuelan patients has increased 76%; Jorge Arreaza, Nicolás’s Foreign minister, tweeted a photo with Francesco Rocca, President of the IRC, to congratulate him for the 125th anniversary of the Venezuelan Red Cross, while that institution denounced that in Venezuela there are no supplies to solve a crisis like the one presented by the coronavirus epidemic. 
  • Voluntad Popular leaders demand freedom for deputy Ismael León, who’s been in house arrest since January 23rd. Javier González said that this illegal measure prevents León from doing his job as a deputy. In addition, the deputy’s guards, have been authorized to search his home any time they want, which violates his rights.
  • Dolores Montserrat, PP’s spokeswoman in the European Parliament, asked the European Commission to investigate Delcy Rodríguez’s presence in the airport in Madrid. Monserrat demanded Pedro Sánchez to “uphold the EU Council’s resolutions. We can’t allow any European government to violate the law.”
  • Russian Foreing Minister Serguei Lavrov will travel next week to Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela. On February 7th, he’ll meet with Nicolás, Delcy Rodríguez and Jorge Arreaza. Maria Zajarova, his spokeswoman, said that they plan on “talking about the bilateral agenda and the practical steps to increase cooperation between both countries in the fields of energy, the mining industry, transport, agriculture, medicine, pharma and technical-military cooperation.” 
  • Iván Duque reaffirmed he won’t resume diplomatic ties with Venezuela after Nicolás’s threat on Wednesday. He said there are “little guarantees in Venezuela for consular services.” 
  • U.S. Southern Command Commander, Craig Faller, said “the only way to attack this  vicious circle [of dictatorships] is as a team. In the region, our allies are willing to help. We need military presence.” He criticized Maduro’s strongest allies support (Russia, Cuba and China) and assured that “the world’s democracies are looking for ways to give the people of Venezuela what they deserve: freedom and prosperity.”
  • The Attorney General’s Office tweeted that, following instructions from Juan Guaidó’s caretaker government, they wrote to law firm Foley & Lardner LLP to let them know that “Nicolás Maduro’s illegitimate regime can’t represent Venezuela or hire legal services.” 
  • AP reported that Foley & Lardner LLP, the firm that Nicolás’s government tried to hire (for 12.5 million dollars) for lobbying in the U.S., rescinded the contract after senator Rick Scott denounced that they’d be representing a dictator. 
  • How’s the coronavirus pandemic going? Confirmed cases: 9,692  (1,981 new cases); Deaths: 213 (43 new deaths); Recovered patients: 171; Cases outside of China: 98 (in 20 countries); Patients under observation: 15,238. Dr. Julio Castro provided the numbers at 10:30 p.m.
  • The WHO declared an international state of emergency because of the coronavirus outbreak in China: “Our biggest concern is the possibility of the virus spreading to countries with more fragile health systems,” said director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The U.S. reported the first case of person-to-person transmission, the fifth country other than China to do so. Experts say that these cases are concerning because they suggest a larger potential to spread. And here we are, without water.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.