Knock-on effect COVID_Caracas Venezuela
The knock-on effects of COVID-19

A struggling health system

In a country where the health system has all but collapsed, COVID-19 has prevented even more people from accessing medical care, whether for chronic diseases or for emergency care for their children. In the capital, Caracas, MSF’s project for survivors of sexual violence had to scale back its services after half of its staff were redeployed to the COVID-19 response. Many of MSF’s patients have been unable to reach the hospital due to travel restrictions. But despite the obstacles, the reduced team has worked around the clock to support patients in every way they can. Dulce, Yamilette and Alberto are three people with a shared message that has sadly become all too familiar in Venezuela.




“I went to two health centres but they wouldn’t let us in”

Alberto is a motorbike taxi driver. His four-year-old son has respiratory problems. The only way he can get treatment for his son is to wait until an appointment becomes available. 

“Everywhere we go they attend first to the COVID patients”

Yamilette is a single mother with four children. For months she has had pains in her hips that have prevented her from going out to work. Despite her urgent medical needs, she was turned away from a number of hospitals, all of which were prioritising COVID-19 patients.   

People wait in a queue to see a doctor


Over half of our sexual violence team was redeployed to deal with the pandemic

Dulce is a medical specialist at MSF’s project for survivors of sexual violence in Vargas hospital in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. Her daily workload changed dramatically when COVID-19 hit the country and MSF was forced to rethink how it could continue to support patients. When the pandemic finally ends, Dulce knows what she will do first.