Friday, March 28, 2008

Death at the maternity: money for Brazil, no money for Venezulan hospitals

The bolivarian pseudo revolution never tires of giving obscene spectacles to confirm its incompetence and its cynicism. Yesterday the "fait divers" was 6 babies death at the Maternidad Concepcion Palacios, the biggest hospital in Venezuela dedicated to birthing.

I am not getting into the detail of what exactly happened last night. Maybe 6 babies did indeed died for lack of attention and resources. Maybe they were dead on arrival as the government tries to have us believe, going as far as sending its health minister discuss media terrorism and how the media focuses on those six alleged death and refuse to discuss the alleged overall drop in infant mortality. I am sure that these words were of great consolation to the parents who were indirectly all but told that their babies died for the revolution, perhaps to illustrate better all those that were saved. Meanwhile the minister still has not tended his resignation, nor the politically appointed directors of the facility.

This awful episode is a true reflection on how detached the government has become from the people: the first reaction of public officials is to minimize, to attack the media, to do whatever is necessary to distract attention rather than face the problem at hand and start by offering excuses and compensation to the unfortunate parents. Under this light we can praise the vice president Carrizales who at least had the gut to show up at the hospital.

However today we got again a crash course summary on all that is wrong in Venezuelan public health system: pathetic lack of resources, dramatically underpaid doctors which lead to the expected lack of doctors, lack of students and residents who simply cannot make it in expensive Caracas and either go to the private sector or remain in the provinces. In other words last night there were no doctors, there was not even distilled water. And this in a hospital who gets in inordinate share of poor expectant mothers, too many under age, too many under health and thus risky birthing in the best of time.

And while this tragedy took place what was Chavez doing? He was giving millions to Brazil just as to have Lula call him a great pacifier. Yes, that is right, Lula accepted to receive a much tarnished Chavez as long as this one took over financing the bulk of the Recife joint oil refinery. In exchange for that money, wily Lula had no problem to call Chavez the pacifier of the Ecuador Colombia conflict when Chavez was the one who put oil on fire by sending Venezuelan troops to the Colombian border even though Venezuela had no part in the Colombo-Ecuadorian conflict.

I have a simple question: besides the fact that Venezuela could use an additional oil refinery of its own instead of "investing" in Recife, how many Venezuelan hospitals could be fixed, fully equipped and the pay check of its staff improved to at least humane levels if not according to their positions?

For note: a young doctor at the Concepcion Palacios makes about 1.5 minimum wage in spite of all his or her years of study. The scummy minister who accused them of conspiring with the media makes about (at least?) 30 times the minimum wage and his only credential for the job is to suck up to Chavez. You do the math and draw your conclusions.

-The end-

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