CARACAS – Parents of patients at the J.M. de Los Rios Hospital, Venezuela’s foremost pediatric care institution, chained themselves to the building entrance on Tuesday to protest shortages of medicines and other supplies.
Most of the demonstrators were the parents of children suffering from kidney failure who have either undergone or are awaiting transplants and fear the consequences of not receiving anti-rejection therapy.
“We will not take the chains off until we get a response, until we are provided the anti-rejection (drugs) and until we get an answer,” Carlos Falcon, father of a 7-year-old girl who recently underwent a kidney transplant, told reporters.
“Listen to our pleas,” he said, adding that the protest is aimed at the hospital administration and at Health Minister Luis Lopez.
Venezuela has suffered for more than four years from severe shortages of drugs and other medical supplies and the situation is growing worse, forcing patients and their families to obtain the needed items at their own expense.
About a year ago, an EFE reporter visiting a Venezuelan hospital saw operations interrupted by power cuts and witnessed the despair of families and doctors over the lack of medication.
And a doctor who chose to remain anonymous disclosed that three children had recently died in the hospital due to contaminated drugs.