More Children and Women Dying in Venezuela as Economy Collapses

  • Infant mortality and maternal deaths jump in 2016 from 2015
  • Cases of malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhea also on the rise

Venezuela’s collapsing economy is taking a toll on its population’s health, with more children and women dying and various diseases skyrocketing amid persistent shortages of everything from medicine to drinking water.

The country recorded 756 cases of maternal deaths in 2016, up 66 percent from the previous year, according to data released by the ministry of health. Infant deaths rose 30 percent to 11,466 cases in 2016 from 8,812 in the previous year.

Cases of malaria, tuberculosis, and amoebic dysentery are on the rise as well, the data shows. Venezuela also reported 324 of diphtheria in 2016 after seeing no instances of the disease in 2015. 

As the government of Nicolas Maduro faces a new round of protests that have left at least 35 people killed over the past few weeks, the opposition has demanded that humanitarian aid of food and medicine is allowed into the country. So far, Maduro hasn’t agreed to that.

“Hospitals are without basic equipment and treatable diseases have become death sentences,” U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement on May 9. “As mass hunger spreads, infant mortality and malnutrition have skyrocketed.”

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