Ongoing Health Crisis
Migration: And still they come – month after month, week after week, every day Venezuelans cross the border (more than 7 million since 2015) driven by extreme food and medicine shortages, violence and political instability. More than 2.8 million Venezuelans have migrated to Colombia – many seeking better health care and economic opportunities.
Health Care: Pharmacies and hospitals in Venezuela have severe shortages of medicine and supplies and inadequate staffing as medical professionals leave the country. Even in locations where medical services are available in Venezuela, falling wages and hyperinflation have put medical care out of reach for many families. The collapse of the health care system has exacerbated health conditions for the migrant population with many going months without care. The COVID-19 global pandemic added another challenge for access to health care as border crossings were restricted.
Response: Americares has set up 10 clinics in 10 departments in Colombia to meet the primary health care needs of migrants, some who may arrive with chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. In addition, the clinics have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by screening and identifying patients with suspected COVID-19 infections and referring those cases to designated clinics for testing. Staff have been provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and specialized COVID-19 training.
Watch the video of migrants coming to Colombia talking about their journey and hope towards a better future. “To be a ‘caminante’ (walker) is to have will, to have strength, and always telling yourself, ‘I can.’….”