President Venezuela asks UN for help with medical supplies

CARACAS, Venezuela – In an unusual acknowledgement of his country’s desperate situation, President Nicolas Maduro has asked the United Nations to help address severe shortages of medicine and medical supplies in Venezuela.
“I have asked the United Nations to regularize the whole medicine issue. The United Nations has the most advanced plans to recover the pharmaceutical industry’s productive capacity,” the socialist leader said in a televised address.
With Venezuela mired in the fourth straight year of deep recession, acute shortages of food and many essential goods, including drugs and medical supplies, have become critical.
Health care workers have staged public demonstrations protesting the shortages and horror stories have emerged from hospitals of patients losing limbs for lack of antibiotics or dying for lack of cancer drugs and other lifesaving medicines.
According to the Venezuelan Medical Federation, hospitals have just three percent of the medicine and supplies they need.
The Venezuelan people tell of desperately hunting for medication at depleted pharmacies or paying small fortunes to buy it on the black market or abroad, according to an AFP report.
Meanwhile, Maduro said he had made the request for assistance in a meeting with Jessica Faieta, Latin America director for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
He said the medicine shortage is one of the “wounds” sustained in what he calls an “economic war” waged by business interests allegedly trying to destabilize his government.
The opposition counters that the crisis afflicting the country is a result of government mismanagement and corruption.

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