Medical Teams International Receives $350,000 Grant to Launch Response to Venezuelan Crisis

Medical Teams International received a $350,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase access to life-saving primary healthcare services, including maternal and child healthcare, for 120,000 Venezuelan migrants in Santa Marta, Colombia, a region near the northern Venezuelan border. Venezuela’s economic and political crisis began in 2010 and has now reached a state of hyperinflation due to chronic resource shortages and government corruption.

Stefanie, a Venezuelan migrant living in Colombia, holds her 6-month-old baby outside of her makeshift home near Barranquilla. (photo credit: Sarah Rawlins)

Since the crisis began, more than four million people have left Venezuela. By the end of last year, access to affordable food and medical care was nearly impossible for millions of people.
While the government of Colombia has been welcoming to new Venezuelan arrivals, the need for medical care far surpasses the country’s ability to provide them with basic assistance. Medical Teams will support the Colombian government by providing care for Venezuelan migrants and vulnerable Colombians. The program is focused on caring for pregnant and lactating women and young children, as well as ensuring vulnerable communities have access to life-saving medical care.

In addition to strengthening the Colombian health system by supporting local primary health care facilities, this grant will also help implement a Community Health Worker program to train volunteers to create social health behavior changes within their communities, map and monitor vulnerable populations, and provide referrals to local health facilities.

For 40 years, Medical Teams International has worked in more than 35 countries and currently operates in Bangladesh, Colombia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Tanzania, and Uganda, collaborating with more than 50 local partners globally. Medical Teams has executed more than 26 U.S. government international assistance grants and implemented projects with the United Nations High Commission of Refugees, U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, United Nations Children’s Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others on a diverse range of health and nutrition interventions. Medical Teams strives to implement innovative and efficient health interventions that save lives and promote a caring world.

Read the full press release.

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