The Special Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Congressman Miguel Pizarro informed this Tuesday in a regular session that the monetary support being given to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Federation of the Red Cross, has as a priority the importation of Personal Protection Equipment in order to help all health and administrative personnel, as well as all those who are in the front line of the battle against COVID-19, to avoid them being the weakest link in the contagion chain.
This information is part of the report presented by the parliamentarian from the Humanitarian Aid Commission, on the resources approved and the actions of the Government in charge, to attend to the COVID-19 crisis and the recognition of all the “Heroes of Health”, the first item on the agenda.
Pizarro explained that part of the funding is also aimed at increasing the virus detection capacity within Venezuela, as well as decentralizing the performance of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests and helping PAHO to identify laboratories that are suitable for carrying out these tests, so that it can equip and provide different laboratories throughout the country in order to increase detection capacity, reduce detection times and, as a result of these last two points, be able to increase the virus response capacity.
The implementation and monitoring scheme will be guided by international protocols. The deputy stated that the mechanism for implementing this humanitarian response is not intended to involve political actors. “All the implementation of a humanitarian response must be in the hands of international agencies and multilateral organizations, in this case, in the hands of PAHO and the International Federation of the Red Cross.”
“This means that the distribution, collection, implementation and monitoring scheme will be directed by international protocols, will be framed by international regulations, procedures and humanitarian responses, thus allowing to build the guarantees of non-politicization, non-interference and non-victimization as a result of access that Nicolas Maduro’s regime must give to these support mechanisms and these forms of response,” he said.
He indicated that the prioritization of facilities and geographical areas where the aid is going, will be determined by humanitarian principles, that is, the states where there are more cases and in turn more difficult conditions will be the first regions served or benefited and in that order successively, until the sites in the country with lower incidence of the pandemic are served.
80% of sanitary facilities without access to water on a permanent basis
In this regard, the parliamentarian said that PAHO had made a previous distribution on the first five states that were discussed and in the hospital facilities selected had been provided with supplies, which although important, he stressed that they did not have the volume needed for the entire internal emergency, since it is a humanitarian response mechanism that does not yet have the capacity to solve structural problems in the system, such as access to water, soap or electricity.
“A country like ours is facing a pandemic like the coronavirus, with 80 per cent of the health facilities permanently without access to water, suffering from very long blackouts, and having difficulty obtaining inputs that go beyond the basics and protection, things as basic as soap, alcohol and gauze.”
To conclude his speech, Pizarro said that within the framework of the difficulties there is a contribution led by multilateral organizations that are based on humanitarian principles that seeks to give tools to those who are on the front line fighting the COVID-19, to be able respond to this pandemic and this arrives in the country at a difficult time because it is a complex humanitarian emergency, making Venezuela an emergency within the emergency, he said.
Hospitals do not have x-ray machines, water or electricity
At this same point, the representative of the state of Zulia, William Barrientos, took the floor and said that he was deeply saddened by the pandemic that has hit Venezuela, Latin America and the world.
He pointed out that the National Assembly warned of the situation that could arise in Venezuela regarding COVID-19, if epidemiological measures and sanitary barriers were not taken into account.
He explained that, due to the lack of the necessary supplies, medical personnel have had to work long hours without biosafety equipment, and hospitals do not have X-ray machines, water, antiseptics, or even electricity.
“There are no medical supplies, the PCR tests have not been decentralized, and furthermore, in a state where there is a dense population, it cannot be explained that there is no laboratory to process these tests, and there is no border post where there is one, simply because of this social control under which the regime wants to keep the population in suspense through deception.
In view of the above, the parliamentarian said that the NA continues to make efforts and fight alongside President Juan Guaidó to seek resources and that these reach those who need them to avoid further loss of human life.
Barrientos, who is a surgeon graduated from the University of Zulia (LUZ), informed that the peak of the pandemic will be stronger in August, therefore, he considered that it should be addressed jointly, that is, all sectors working in health, academies, universities and unions should be present.
The deputy ended his right to speak by asking the Plenary to pay tribute through a video to all the doctors who have died so far in the fight against COVID-19 in Venezuela.