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Story Publication logo July 2, 2019

Waiting for Hope: Venezuela's Crumbling Public Health Infrastructure

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Members of a surgical team prepare a donated kidney to be transplanted into a patient on June 27, 2018, at an operating room in the private hospital Clínica Metropolitana, in Caracas, one of the few health centers that still performs this complex medical procedure. Image by Flaviana Sandoval. Venezuela, 2018.
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Venezuela is currently undergoing one of the worst economic crises in its history, resulting in...

Organ transplants in Venezuela have become a luxury that the majority of patients cannot afford.

Severe medicine shortages and crumbling public health infrastructure have led to the shutdown of transplant centers all across the country, limiting access to this treatment option that is now only offered at private hospitals for a high price. The government-managed organ procurement system that facilitated organ donations for transplant patients stopped working in 2017, stripping thousands of patients of their hope of ever getting to the operating room.

Those who do not receive transplants are sentenced to the dialysis unit where many endure poor conditions, lack of treatment, and malnutrition. They face chronic illness and even death under a system that has failed to protect their most fundamental right: the right to live.

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