August 22, 2019
Latest News

Patients with mental illness face labyrinth in Venezuela

By Ron Gonzalez

Caracas, Aug 7 (efe-epa).- In a dark room in Venezuela's most important psychological hospital, two elderly women lie on folding cots on worn mattresses amid tangled sheets that seem to be part of their bodies.

Their names are not posted at the head of the cots because it could have been other patients who occupied the beds the previous night at the Psychiatric Hospital in Caracas, an institution founded 126 years ago but which is going through very hard times.

The elderly ladies are just two of the thousands of mental patients in Venezuela who are forced to go through a double labyrinth, dealing both with their own afflictions and also the lack of public medical assistance that might help them get better.

"This has become a human overcrowding zone," nurse Johana Hernandez told EFE after pointing out that only a small part of the hospital designed to attend to about 300 patients, something that she calls "a cultural right," is operating amid the worst possible conditions.

"The more that you want to do things well, you can't," she said, pointing out the deplorable working conditions at the health center.

As Hernandez spoke with EFE, cockroaches and other insects crept along the walls, climbed into the patients' beds and were visible in the areas where the nurses take their breaks, where every day after 6 pm five postgraduate medical students go home and leave the hospital without any doctors on call.

She said that the health center does have on hand a certain amount of medications to treat depression, schizophrenia and other ills affecting the 36 patients.

"We're getting (the medications), but not in the amounts needed to be able to attend to everyone," she said.

She showed EFE about 20 ampules of sedatives with expiration dates in 2016, but added that they are used only in emergencies.

Due to the lack of maintenance personnel, trash, excrement and dead insects are to be found in the rooms, bathrooms and patios of the huge hospital, which has been without electric power in most of its rooms for 20 months.

"The hospital personnel are not on strike," she said, but rather are working at the bare minimum level, although - despite all the difficulties - they are still manning their posts in the psychiatric department.

The debacle at the hospital is part of the ongoing discussion in Venezuela, a country that is going through the worst political and economic crisis in its modern history and where millions of workers can't earn enough to cover their daily food expenses.

"To be honest, I don't know what anyone earns here," said Hernandez, who added that her pay, which is just a little over $6 per month, is only "symbolic" since she can't live on it anyway.

"If I made that public, OK, I'd have to pay the consequences. I don't know what those would be ... (But) I can't turn a blind eye and be one of the ones who kept quiet. No, as long as I'm here I'm not going to do that," she said.

In Venezuela, hospital services are going through their own crisis period, amid the scarcity of medications and the low pay for doctors and nurses, who work for the state headed since 2013 by Nicolas Maduro.

Every day, there are dozens of protests demanding an end to the crisis and an improvement in public services, which are by far the least costly in the region.

Amid this crisis, the opposition and health workers unions have been calling for the opening of a humanitarian channel into the country whereby pharmaceutical products and other basic necessities could enter.

In recent months, shipments of medications and other medical materials have come into the country from the Red Cross and allied countries like Russia and China.

But Hernandez said that, at least in the case of this hospital, nothing has been received.

News history
Still unsafe for Rohingyas to return to Myanmar, Amnesty warns

Bangkok Desk, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Human rights organization Amnesty International warned Thursday that it was still unsafe for members of the Rohingya ethnic...

Cuba relying on bacteria to end dengue epidemic

Havana, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- The dengue epidemic in several Latin American countries is also affecting - albeit to a lesser degree - Cuba, where experts are...

Trump seeks to halt family migration by extending child detentions

By Laura Barros

Czechs denounce current leaders during rally to mark 1969 crackdown

Prague, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Tens of thousands of Czechs held a demonstration here Wednesday in which they remembered countrymen who were killed or injured on...

Brazil's president points finger at NGOs in Amazon fires

Brasilia, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- President Jair Bolsonaro insinuated on Wednesday that non-governmental organizations may be behind the fires in the Amazon, the...

Nepal bans single-use plastics in Everest region

Kathmandu, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Nepal will make the Everest region a plastic-free zone by 2020 by banning single-use plastics, a move that will curb excessive...

Kathmandu, Aug 21 (EFE).- Nepal will make the Everest region a plastic-free zone by 2020 by banning single-use plastics, a move that will curb excessive...

Thailand starts distribution of medical marihuana to cancer patients

Bangkok, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Thailand has begun the distribution of Cannabis oil targeting terminally ill cancer patients following the approval of a law...

Hungarians revel in a sea of fragrant blooms

Hungarians reveled in a sea of colour and fragrant blooms to marks the 50th Debrecen Flower Festival.

Pogba target of racist slurs for missing penalty against Wolverhampton

London, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been subjected to racist insults on social media after missing a penalty in the...

With no right to divorce, Filipinos are trapped in loveless marriages forever

By Sara Gomez Armas

El Salvador woman pardoned after manslaughter conviction for abortion

Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- A court in El Salvador pardoned Evelyn Hernandez, 21, this Monday of the crime of aggravated manslaughter...

Bardem: If 30 pct. of oceans not protected in 2030, damage to be irreversible

By Alvaro Celorio

DNA extracted from turtle shell products in drive to save species

Sydney, Australia, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- Scientists have extracted DNA from products made out of hawksbill turtle shells in a bid to save a species that is...

European Commission president cuts Austria vacation short for urgent surgery

Brussels, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has had to cut his vacation in Austria short for medical...

FAO: 39 million people suffer from hunger in Latin America

Montevideo, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- An increase in the number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, now totaling 39 million, is a...

Death toll in dengue outbreak hits 40 in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- At least 40 people have died from dengue in Bangladesh, with over 50,000 cases reported throughout the country since January,...

Dirt-floor shacks a perpetual symbol of Argentina's gaping social divide

By Tono Gil

UNICEF: Rohingya child refugees despair over lack of access to education

Dhaka, Aug 16 (efe-epa) - Lack of access to formal education is leading to frustration and despair among young Rohingya refugees in southeastern Bangladesh,...

Pacific Islands Forum ends with lukewarm declaration against climate change

Sydney, Australia, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- The Pacific Islands Forum ended on Thursday night in Funafuti, the capital of island nation Tuvalu, without a...

Salvadoran woman hopeful of acquittal in retrial for stillbirth

Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- A Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years in prison after a stillborn delivery was back in court here...

Scientists detect microplastic particles in the snow

Berlin, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- A team of German and Swiss scientists have detected the presence of microplastic particles in the snow of the Arctic and the Alps...

Nora Quoirin died of internal bleeding from stress or lack of food: police

Bangkok Desk, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- The London schoolgirl found dead in a Malaysian jungle two days ago died from internal bleeding likely caused by lack of...

Pell's appeal against child sexual abuse convictions to be decided on Aug. 21

Sydney, Australia, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- An Australian cardinal convicted to six years in prison for abusing two boys in the 1990s will find out the fate of...

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.