We feel very fortunate as a Foundation to be able to keep going and reach more people in an environment that is simply a constant challenge. Venezuela's deterioration has brought such poverty and difficulty into people's lives across the economic and social spectrum:
- Doctors and nurses are now walking long distances or bicycling to work because there is literally no gasoline to put in their cars. Most everyone is walking long hot distances in the sun everywhere now.
- We are seeing people unable to receive our surgery services because their blood work is too risky (anemia etc) from malnutrition, which we have never seen before.
- The plight of children in particular breaks our hearts. We are helping where we can with supplemental nutrition, and offering surgeries to children and adults with chronically painful and potentially dangerous hernias. These patients have virtually no other relief in sight, given the collapse of the public health system.
And what about the plight of women without any access to contraceptive support? Families directed to stay at home due to coronavirus will have more opportunities to have sexual relations and less opportunity to control their fertility, producing more unintended babies. We are projecting a coming blip in the birth rate in Venezuela as predicted to us by many women here regarding their own fate. Many of these babies will be born into abject poverty in a country without functioning social services. Our work in family planning has never been more important.