NEW YORK/PANAMA, 26 November 2018 – UNICEF has flown in nearly 130 tonnes of medicines, health and nutrition supplies for 350,000 women and children in Venezuela since August to boost Government efforts to alleviate the impact of ongoing economic crisis on the most vulnerable.
The supplies are part of an agreement with the Government to expand UNICEF’s programmes in the country, including through technical cooperation and capacity building.
Venezuela’s economic crisis has reduced children’s access to essential services and is threatening to reverse decades of progress. Nearly 12 per cent of the population is undernourished, according to the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report. Measles cases increased from 727 in 2017 to 5,525 in 2018, and a diphtheria outbreak that began in July 2016 led to 1,249 confirmed cases, mostly among children.
In coordination with the National Nutrition Institute and other partners, UNICEF has so far delivered 100 tons of nutritional supplies for 150,000 children, including micronutrients, therapeutic food for the treatment of malnutrition, and deworming and water purification tablets. UNICEF, along with Government and civil society partners, is also working to strengthen food and nutrition practices through the promotion of breastfeeding and nutrition screening.
Working with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF has also provided 30 tons of medicines and health supplies to help stop the spread of infectious diseases and to improve health outcomes for children and women in vulnerable communities. These supplies will be used in the treatment and care for 25,000 pregnant women, 10,000 newborns in neonatal wards and more than 2,300 children living with HIV. Through UNICEF’s expanded programme, 40,000 pregnant women now have access to rapid HIV and syphilis tests, while 100,000 children and pregnant women have access to malaria treatment.
UNICEF, present in Venezuela since 1991, has over the past two years strengthened its work with partners to provide vulnerable children affected by the economic crisis with support in education, health, nutrition and protection. So far this year, UNICEF has also supported the vaccination of children with 2.5 million doses of measles vaccines and provided antiretrovirals for 2,334 children and antimalarial treatment for 150,000 children.