Venezuela had 617 710 live births in 2015. 2% infant mortality would be about 12000 deaths.
The deterioration of the public health sector is a major challenge for the ruling Socialist Party which ran free health projects with the help of Cuban expertise including Cuban-staffed clinics in the slums.
Medical care has been hit by the shortages of medicines, equipment and personnel. Eight out of 10 medicines are now scarce according to the main pharmacy group.
Often patients have to bring their own. Protesting doctors are demanding the government declares a national health crisis and allows foreign humanitarian aid.
“I started to see patients in the area of the operating room and in the emergency area they began to die from lack of medicines. Some 70 children died do far this year due to lack of antibiotics to treat diseases such a neonatal sepsis,” said doctor David Macineiras.
Bread is a staple of diets worldwide, a low price with a high nutritious value.
But it is one of the most affected by the shortage in Venezuela. That’s because the country is entirely dependent on the import of wheat. Bakers have reduced their output and people have to spend hours queuing in the hope of buying for their table.
The lack of raw materials and complex currency exchange system have left many companies struggling especially those that manufacture basic products.
On Saturday Kimberly-Clark closed down its operations due to the soaring consumer prices and shortages of basic goods.
“We are a company that makes nappies, paper towels, things that are basic necessities and there are approximately 5,000 to 6,000 families affected,” explained one of the company’s staff, Wilmer Gutierrez.
While most advanced economies struggle to lift inflation, none would want Venezuela‘s situation: Consumer-price inflation is forecast to hit 480% this year and top 1,640% in 2017, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Soldiers guard empty grocery store shelves. Inflation is so bad, the government has had to order bolivars by the planeload.
As Caracas extends its declared state of economic emergency, it’s no wonder many economists say the nation will soon have to ask the IMF for a bailout. It’s gotten so bad, the government this month handed over control of food stocks to the military, ceding even more power to the armed forces.
But Venezuela, whose government severed ties with the IMF nearly a decade ago under its former socialist autocratic leader, Hugo Chávez, hasn’t tried to restore relations with the world’s emergency lender.
“There has been no change in Venezuela’s relationship with the fund,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said Thursday. While the IMF has urged Caracas to reestablish a relationship, “the Venezuelan authorities have not contacted us,” he said.
China, seeking to take advantage of poor political relations that many African and Latin American nations have with the U.S. and Western-based institutions like the IMF, has been giving Venezuela and other commodity exporters cheap loans to help tide them through the commodity slump. Last year, the country supposedly secured $10 billion in cheap credit to help keep it afloat.
While those loans may keep the state budget limping along, including massive costly subsidy programs, and strengthen political ties to Beijing, they don’t require the deep policy overhauls many economists say are vital to repairing the broken economy.
SOURCES- Wall Street Journal , Euronews