The obvious question – how is the Foundation doing given the coronavirus?
Using standardized metrics, this has been our most successful year in family planning and also in humanitarian aid. In the midst of Venezuela’s economic freefall and humanitarian crisis, we are actually growing. We recently opened offices in two Cumana healthcare clinics, and also in the city of Carupano to the east. This expands upon the family planning and medical services already delivered from our Foundation headquarters, doctors’ offices and a number of public sector facilities that, fortunately, are still functioning. We are very grateful to be thriving, both for the families that we serve and for the staff that we are helping to survive through this crisis. May I add that we can sure put to good use all the funding that comes our way right now!
Expanding in a crisis? Can only imagine the challenges.
In Venezuela, the question is, what obstacles have we not faced? Shortages of basic medical supplies, severe disruptions in electricity, telecom, and Internet services, and personal security issues create daily stress. Add to this a national shutdown and a devastating shortage of gasoline. The result is an infrastructure system – including public and private transportation – that is harshly impeded. This has a huge impact on getting our services to the people who need them. For example, the doctors, nurses, administrative staff and the patients we work with, all regularly walk or ride bicycles long distances in the tropical sun to get to their daily work and service destinations. It’s unimaginable and yet here we are.
How is the Foundation persevering?
By constantly shifting strategies and implementing short-term stop-gap measures to get us through from one problem to the next. The extraordinary adaptability of our administrative staff – and the medical teams we partner with – allows us to continuously adjust how, when, and where we deliver our services. We are determined to succeed against the odds. One thing is for certain – the unmet demand continues to grow.
You mentioned Venezuela’s private healthcare clinics. How important?
Absolutely central. Our delivery model bridges Venezuela's public and private sectors. It offers a sustainable model of mixed public-private healthcare delivery. We believe this model is 100% replicable once the country emerges from its struggles and embraces a brighter future.
Why such confidence in this approach?
The people we work with! We mobilize Venezuelan doctors, nurses, rural auxiliary nurses, educators, sociologists, and social workers who understand the urgency and are willing and able to work. We offer them the tools to respond to the current humanitarian and family planning crisis. We support them with modest but fair compensation. Given Venezuela’s economic collapse, this helps these much-needed professionals survive the situation and motivates them to stay in Venezuela. The flight of professionals out of Venezuela, especially medical personnel, has been catastrophic. We are helping to stem the tide, even if just a little.