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Health-care personnel makes up 20% of COVID- 19 deaths and the trend could continue: Unions say

Medical personnel "have an imminent risk of dying” due to poor working conditions, say reps from health unions. There is a shortage of gloves, face masks, gowns, meds, supplies, and, as always, water.


By Nataly Angulo.
Aditional reporting by Carlos Camacho in Caracas.

Without equipment, supplies, medicines, and water in hospital centers, medical and nursing personnel “have an imminent risk of dying,” denounced this Wednesday, February 10, Hania Salazar, president of the Nursing Association in Zulia state.

Some 20% (253) of all Venezuelan COVID 19-linked deaths (1,253) come from the health care sector, according to a tally kept by El Pitazo.

You must read COVID-19 killed 224 doctors in Venezuela in six months of 2020

Salazar led a demonstration of the professional associations of medicine, nursing, dentistry, lab technicians, and nutrition experts to demand improvement of working conditions in the public hospital network.

“We, health professionals, are applying the law of sacrifice, knowing that we are at risk of dying from contamination, thus doing so with low salaries, without supplies,” denounced Salazar in statements to El Pitazo. She stressed that in Zulia some 20 nursing professionals have died due to COVID-19.

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“The owner of the wealth is not those who are on duty (in the Government), we are all the people of Zulia, and we have to kneel to ask them to supply the hospitals, to improve the salaries. Where is the health budget of the state of Zulia?” asked the union leader.

She said that when health personnel gets sick there is no guarantee that the State will cover their treatments.

“Today, no nurse can afford their medications, they do not have enough to feed themselves, to buy a uniform, not even cash to get around,” she added.

The demonstrators demanded salary adjustments amount in the public-hospital network do not exceed four dollars a month.

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