October 19, 2017, Toronto, CANADA and Caracas, VENEZUELA
Venezuela is in the middle of an unprecedented, state-made, complex humanitarian emergency with severe and widespread social consequences, including for people living with and affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, ICASO and ACCSI said today in launching a new report. International inaction has set the stage for a rapidly worsening disaster in 2018.
“In May 2017, the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria voted to support a regional response to the crisis,” said Mary Ann Torres, executive director of ICASO. “But this has not yet materialized.”
Venezuela’s government denies the crisis, and blocks publication of health data that would document the worsening disaster. In the absence of official health data, this report, Triple threat: Resurging epidemics, a broken health system, and global indifference to Venezuela’s crisis, draws on interviews with Venezuelan people living with HIV, doctors, advocates, academics and United Nations representatives to document the health emergency.
The government denial of the crisis, the country’s classification by the World Bank as Upper Middle Income, and the lack of official epidemiological data all made Venezuela ineligible for many forms of aid, including from the Global Fund. The Global Fund Board voted to provide aid to a regional response, but none has yet developed.
Despite the palpable suffering in Venezuela, the global community has yet to take decisive action. “The current health crisis in Venezuela is a symptom and a consequence of the failures of the global architecture which should be able to mount a response to any humanitarian crisis. The devastation we are facing is being perpetuated in part by the arbitrary rules and regulations that shape global health aid eligibility,” said Alberto Nieves, Executive Director of ACCSI. “The world will not achieve the sustainable development goals, if the global community continues to turn a blind eye to the public health catastrophe in Venezuela. We need decisive immediate global leadership to avert this crisis.”
ICASO is a Canadian organization that acts as a global policy voice on HIV issues that impact diverse communities around the world. Our advocacy work champions the leadership of civil society and key populations in the effort to end AIDS. We do this through collaborative partnerships with people and organizations in all regions and various sectors, always with a view to serving and empowering communities.
Acción Ciudadana contra el SIDA (ACCSI) (Citizens Action against AIDS) is a Venezuelan organization working to ensure effective and coordinated strategies to protect, promote and defend human rights of people living with HIV and other key and vulnerable populations.