World Health Organization Malaria report describes Venezuela's humanitarian crisis

Last week, the World Health Organization released its annual Malaria Report. The report discusses advances and setbacks in the ongoing fight against the disease. The report highlights how political unrest and instability are leading to humanitarian crises and malaria outbreaks in malaria endemic zones such as Nigeria, South Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen.

“We are at a crossroads in the response to malaria,” said Dr Pedro Alonso, Director of the Global Malaria Programme, “We hope this report serves as a wake-up call for the global health community.” (source)

Exerpt from the WHO Malaria Report 2017

Historically, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has served as a model for malaria eradication in the Americas, with its northern region declared malaria free by the WHO in 1961 (33). Following the recent political and economic crises, malaria has been increasing annually since 2008. Between 2015 and 2016, reported cases increased by over 76% (from 136 402 to 240 613), with the country overtaking Brazil as the larger contributor to the malaria burden in the Americas, and the cases reported in 2016 were the highest in the country’s history (Fig. 8.5)….Recently, malaria has gradually spread into other areas, including some that were previously declared malaria free. Although malaria treatment is free in the public health sector, availability of antimalarial drugs has reduced…The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is not currently eligible for funding from the Global Fund and does not receive funding from other external sources. Since 2010, government spending on malaria has varied; it reached almost US$ 10 million in 2015, but in 2016 declined to about one fifth of this amount (US$ 2.2 million), even though malaria almost doubled during that time.

Malaria Chart