Venezuela strains Brazil’s healthcare system as Venezuelans flee to Brazil for medical care
People of Venezuela are travelling to Brazil in search of food, medicine and hospitals as a result of Venezuela’s failing healthcare system. Economic crisis and hyperinflation have cleaned Venezuelan hospitals of needles, bandages and medicine. Desperate for care and often undocumented, patients are overwhelming Brazilian emergency rooms as they turn up by the thousands. The overcrowded morgue is just one example of how an unprecedented immigration wave from Venezuela is straining Brazil’s healthcare system. Roraima General admitted 100 patients from Venezuela in September, 2016. By December, that number had doubled. To deal with the influx of patients, the hospital has transformed waiting rooms into patient wards, cramming in as many beds it can. But demand is so high that patients strapped to IVs lay in beds that spill out into the corridors. 40% of total patients in hospitals of northern states of Brazil along with Venezuela border are Venezuelans. Brazilian hospitals end up caring not just for the Venezuelan patients but also for their families, who often show up with no place to stay or money for food. Families of other hospital patients sometimes take them in, but more often they sleep in chairs in the hospital hallways and rely on government services for meals and showers.