World Health Organizations (WHO) has warned that the malaria cases have increased by 69 percent in Venezuela last year.
Expressing concern about the rapid dispersal of the disease in the crisis-hit Venezuela, the WHO’s global malaria campaign director Pedro Alonso said, “What we are now seeing is a massive increase, probably reaching close to half a million cases per year.”
According to the WHO estimates, the cases of malaria in Venezuela have increased from 240,613 to 406,000 in the last year.
Mr. Pedro Alonso, in his statement, accused the lack of resources and ineffective anti-malaria campaign for this plague.
“These are the largest increases reported anywhere in the world,” World Health Organization’s Pedro Alonso said.
Venezuela has been going through massive political turmoil for a long. Many Venezuelans have escaped the violence to neighboring countries raising worries of further spreading of the disease.
“We are seeing indeed because of population movement, cases among Venezuelan migrants appearing in other countries – Brazil certainly. But also in Colombia, in Ecuador and in a number of other places,” Mr. Alonso said.
WHO said the infected Venezuelans who escaped the turbulence at home to neighboring Brazil and other Latin American countries are required to provide free screening if further spread to be prevented.
Mr. Alonso said, “Venezuela, yes this is a significant concern, malaria is increasing and it’s increasing in a very worrying way,” but in the Americas, it’s not just Venezuela. We’re actually reporting increases in a number of other countries.
More than half a million Venezuelan refugees live in Colombia while more than 1 lac Venezuelans lives in Peru, according to United Nations Refugee Agency.
To prevent further spread of malaria across the region, free screening has been advised by the World Health Organization.
“What this calls for is renewed effort by the countries surrounding Venezuela to ensure adequate diagnosis and treatment free for whoever shows up at medical services,” said Pedro Alonso.
Venezuela, the first ever country to eradicate malaria in 1961 ahead of the U.S. and many other developed nations, has recently been plagued with political turmoil under the leadership of President Maduro.
As a result of continuous turbulence and violence all across the country, tens of thousands of people have fled the country and seek refuge in the neighboring countries.