Saturday, August 31, 2013

Venezuela: Update--Health Minister Puts "Political Spin" on Deficiencies Cited By VMF

According to EFE, and as a follow-up to my posting of August 21 entitled "Venezuela: President of VMA Declares Health Care System Dysfunctional," Venezuelan health minister Isabel Iturria finally acknowledged on Friday (August 30) that Dr. Douglas León, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation (VMF) was absolutely correct in his description of the poor condition of health care in the Socialist country.

Dr. Iturría said "there are “difficulties” in the nation’s hospitals following the complaints of medical personnel and patients over the past few weeks about the lack of resources." 

COMMENT: Unfortunately, Dr. Iturría went to great lengths to "sugar-coat" her statements about the condition of the health care system in Venezuela, taking extraordinary steps to characterize health care in the best "political" light.

Like a good politician, Itturía rejected, however, "the idea that a hospital crisis exists, since how well the country’s healthcare system is working can be judged by the health indicators since the late President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999."

Although Dr.  Itturía is a licensed cardiologist, presumably her political accountability supersedes her medical accountability to "do no harm."

Conversely, Dr. León, president of the VMF, who represents all medical professionals in the country, told reporters earlier in the month that "90% of the nation’s hospitals “are almost technically closed down” and asked that a healthcare emergency be declared." 

My advice to multinational companies who send expats to Venezuela is that they be in the best physical and emotional health condition as possible as the medical environment they are being sent into is comparable to developing nations in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

As an important side note, companies sending expats to Venezuela should also provide them an adequate weight allowance for the importation of food, given the shortages that prevail in the country.