Marino Gonzalez is a specialist on public policies. He is a medical doctor who
later got a Ph.D. in public policies. Talking to him is incredible because he probability
knows health numbers in Venezuela
better than the Minister of Health himself. Talking to him can be quite
depressing. When you learn that the Government has no clue how many HIV cases
exist in Venezuela, or that most Barrio Adentro patients are simply given
dipirona, a drug discontinued everywhere in the world for regular analgesic
prescription except in Cuba and North Korea.Or how the loving Government of
Hugo Chavez will spend four times more money on military equipment than health
care. So much for love…Here is Marino’s article I today’s Tal Cual
illnesses and deaths by Marino Gonzalez in Tal Cual
eight years of authoritarian and incompetent Government, President Chavez
speaks of love. This sudden manifestation contrasts with the results of his administration
that has only brought more illnesses and deaths to Venezuelans. There can not
be any love when one has allowed the deterioration of health in the country.
The Government of President Chavez has represented the most roaring failure in health
care in Venezuela
since 1937. Two reasons back this assertion. The first one is his disappointing
accomplishments. The second reason is its great incapacity to undertake the
fundamental changes that our healthcare system requires.
From the first year of Chavez’ administration, the health of
Venezuelans has gotten worse. This deterioration is expressed in a convincing
manner in three aspects of current health conditions in Venezuela:
maternal and child care, control of endemic illnesses and the prevention and
control of chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Health has yet to
publish the mortality figures for 2005 (It already has a four month delay).
That is why the analysis can only be done up to the year 2004.
9,272 kids younger than one died in the year 2004. 80% of these deaths
were due to reasons that were completely avoidable. This means those 7,417
deaths in kids less than one year, are approximately 20 deaths per day. The
child mortality rate in Venezuela
is twice that of Chile.
The larger number of avoidable deaths are related with illnesses of
infectious origin or related to the condition of poverty in the kid’s lives.
In 2004 there were 685 deaths due to diarrhea in kids less than one. In
that year, 274 kids (between one and eleven months) also died of malnutrition
In the case of maternal mortality there has been an increase of 20% between
1998 and 2004. That is, in 1998, 51 women out of every 100,000 live births died
and are recorded for causes related to the pregnancy, birth and the post-partum
period. In the year 2004 60 women for every 100,000 live births were recorded.
that in 2004 one woman died each day due to causes related to maternal
case of endemic illnesses, the failure is expressed in the current malaria and
dengue epidemic the country is involved in. In the year 1998 we had 21,863
cases of malaria. In the year 2002 the total number of cases increased to
29,337. In 2004 we closed the year with 46,244 cases the second highest number
since 1937. In 2005 we had 45,328 cases. of malaria. In the case of dengue, the number
of cases in 2005 was 12% higher than that of 1998. In the last weeks reported
this year we have more cases of these illnesses than last year
The Government of President Chavez has also failed to pay attention to
people who have illnesses that require care for decades.
illnesses are quite common but can be controlled. In the case of the care of
patients with diabetes or hypertension there is evidence of the worsening. According
to official figures, in the years of this Government the probability ahs
increased for people with hypertension or diabetes, especially in the elderly. If
we compare the values between 1998 and 2003 the results are disheartening. In the
specific case of diabetes, in the period noted mortality has increased in all
of the groups comprised between 50 and 74 years old. In the group between 50
and 79, mortality has increased by 25%. In the group between 50 and 59 years
old mortality ahs increased by 29%. A similar situation is observed in deaths by
hypertension. In all of the groups mortality has increased due to these causes.
It is clear that this purported love what has brought us is
more deaths and illnesses to all Venezuelans.
It is also clear that reelecting the Government of Hugo Chavez is the
biggest risk to the well being of Venezuelans.