How Prepared is Venezuela’s Healthcare System for COVID-19?

Research event
27 July 2020 — 3:00PM TO 4:00PM

The reported number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in Venezuela is almost certainly much lower than the real figure, given the limited availability of reliable testing, limited transparency, and the persecution of medical professionals and journalists who report on this issue.

Overcrowding in low-income areas and prisons, as well as generalized problems in accessing water in hospitals and homes, makes it likely that coronavirus will rapidly spread within the country. The mass exodus of Venezuelans, and the migration back and forth across Venezuela’s borders due to the pandemic increases the risk of the virus spreading further.

A recent deal reached by the government and opposition to distribute aid through the United Nations/Pan American Health Organization opens the door to apolitical aid reaching the people, but its implementation and monitoring are key for its success.

Based on a report by Human Rights Watch and Johns Hopkins University, what are the conditions on the ground in Venezuela today and projections? In what ways has the government thwarted or assisted public health responses and humanitarian relief efforts? What could be the regional implications should COVID-19 reach its possible proportions in Venezuela?

Please note this event is taking place between 3pm-4pm BST.


José Miguel Vivanco, Executive Director, Americas Division, Human Rights Watch
Tamara Taraciuk Broner, Acting Deputy Director, Americas Division, Human Rights Watch
Dr Kathleen Page, Associate Professor of Medicine, John Hopkins University
Chair: Dr Christopher Sabatini, Senior Research Fellow for Latin America, US and the Americas Programme, Chatham House

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