Venezuelans Lack Proper Nutrition and Medical Resources

Organ donation patients especially at risk


People crowd at the gates of a supermarket as they wait to buy food in Caracas, Venezuela January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A new university study on the impact of Venezuela’s economic crisis and food shortages found Venezuelans have lost an average of 11 kilograms of body weight last year. Almost 90 percent now live in poverty. The study, conducted by three universities, also found 60 percent of Venezuelan people surveyed reported not being able to buy food. A quarter of the population is believed to be eating less than two meals a day. The study revealed details about the declining diet of Venezuelans, as economic stresses like hyperinflation and currency controls affect salaries and food imports.


The economic crisis is also affecting organ transplant patients in Venezuela. Almost 3,500 Venezuelans are organ transplant recipients, but the deteriorating economy is now affecting availability of necessary medications for those patients. NGO Codevida reports 31 patients experiencing organ rejection in the last month due to lack of medicine. At least seven patients have died in the last three months due to organ failure. There are approximately 16,000

Yasmira Castano, 40, who lost her transplanted kidney, lies on a bed at a state hospital in Caracas, Venezuela on February 7, 2018.  REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuelans relying on dialysis while they await organ donation, but their lives are in jeopardy as dialysis supplies and resources are low and dialysis centers are closing. Codevida, which staged a protest against the drug shortages, reported seven patients dying in the last three weeks due to lack of dialysis access. Venezuelan patients and medical professionals are fleeing the country to seek better medical care and resources.

The dietary concerns and medical issues are compounded by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s refusal of food and medicine donations from others. He continues to blame the economic downturn on opposition and business leaders and Washington. Read more about the growing dietary and health concerns in Venezuela here and here.