Latin America is currently experiencing the biggest modern exodus of people in that area.
More than a million Venezuelans have left the country after a recent economic collapse has led to food shortages and lack of access to medicine.
“The doctors would say, ‘Nothing this month, try next month,’” said Danielis Diaz, a transgender hairdresser who had to move from Venezula to Colombia in order to seek HIV medicine, told Reuters.
“Doctors told me to take vitamins and eat lentils while waiting for the drugs. While you wait, you’re waiting to go to the cemetery,”
Prior to moving to Colombia, Diaz once received free HIV medication for 12 years from the government. Unfortunately, that once celebrated national program has dried up along with the rest of Venezula’s public health field.
The lack of funds and medicine first led to a pause in regular check-ups before causing the end of antiretroviral drugs released in the country and then the departure of specialist doctors.
“We have now reached a crisis point in Venezuela,” said experts, according to Relief Web. “Access to healthcare, a fundamental responsibility of the State, is in a serious state of decay. It is shocking that hospitals themselves have become a place where people’s lives are being put at risk.”
Perhaps the two groups of people that have been hit the hardest are children and LGBTQ people. These shortages in antiretroviral drugs have obviously hit people living with HIV like Diaz.
In addition, several children are dying from causes that could have been prevented by better health care, according to the Organization of American States. So far, 16 children at one hospital have died due to poor hygiene and an undocumented number of deaths from other minors were caused by conditions such as malnutrition.
The UN has called on the Venezuela government to act and properly mobilize resources to the remaining citizens.
h/t: Reuters, Relief Web, The OAS