As long summer days come to an end in the UK, the sun continues to shine brightly in Venezuela. The initiatives we witness at the grassroots level warm our hearts, reminding us of the perennial Venezuelan summer even amidst the humanitarian crisis.
We hope this Newsletter detailing our achievements in Q3 brings rays of hope and light to your hearts as well.
This week, we celebrated the uninterrupted fourth year of our food security programmein Guaraunos, a remote village in rural Venezuela. This success has been largely due to an incredibly well-organised community that ensured its functioning even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our dedicated volunteer, Rosita, continued distributing meals for 35 vulnerable children during this summer school holidays. Additionally, during the summer, Dr. Erika Moreno (her father, José Alfredo Moreno, is an esteemed community leader and supporter of our programme), Dr. Liyibeth Avila, and their assistant Antonella conducted a dental health campaign. Despite occasional blackouts forcing them outdoors, these committed professionals cared for 59 children. It’s heartening to see Dr. Moreno, a daughter of Guaraunos, giving back to her community.
We consistently gather data to evaluate our programmes. One of the most eye-opening figures stems from our junior doctors’ sponsorship programme. On average, each junior doctor conducts 151 consultations per month. They receive $50 from our sponsorship and an additional $5 to $50 from the hospitals they work for. This results in an averageconsultation cost of less than $1! In a nation where 90% live under the poverty line and the basic salary is merely $6 a month, the continuity of this programme is crucial. Organisations like the LATA Foundation and MUDANO (an Accenture affiliate) have generously supported our efforts, and our doctors consistently express their gratitude with broad smiles and heartfelt thanks.
In 2023, the Pan American Health Organisation disclosed a worrying statistic: maternal mortality rates in Venezuela surged by 182% between 2000 and 2020. In the country’s precarious economic state, unplanned pregnancies can exacerbate the cycle of poverty. This concern prompted our collaboration with ALAPLAF, a reputable local NGO focused on family planning and awareness. Our joint efforts in Q3 enabled 127 adult women and 51 adolescents to exercise their reproductive rights. To date, our family planning programme has positively impacted over 3,000 women.
Portable Ultrasound Devices
We’re very excited to announce a pilot training programme for Portable Ultrasound Devices at the Razetti School of Medicine in Caracas. This training leverages cutting-edge technology using devices marginally larger than typical smartphones that enable instantaneous imaging and diagnosis. The training is rooted in a curriculum curated by the New York University School of Medicine. We’re profoundly grateful to this esteemed institution for sharing its expertise and aiding the integration of this indispensable technology in Venezuela. A special shoutout to Butterfly Network for supplying the devices at a discounted rate.
We are absolutely thrilled that Dr. Katherine Otto Chebly has joined us as our new Ambassador in Venezuela. She is an Adjunct Professor at the New York University School of Medicine and is in charge of the Portable Ultrasound Devices training programme. Residing in Caracas, she works at the Internal Medicine department of the University Hospital of Caracas and collaborates with the NGO Acción Solidaria. Her research delves into global health equity, with emphasis on tele-health innovations in public health services, including topics such as point-of-care ultrasound and the social determinants of health. Dr Otto Chebly has spearheaded tele-health initiatives for the World Bank in Ethiopia and USAID in Indonesia. Additionally, she penned the book “Everyday Ambassador: Make a Difference by Connecting in a Disconnected World.” A distinguished alumna of NYU, she earned her MD, MPA in International Health Policy & Management, and BA in International Relations. We are very lucky to welcome Kate to the team!
A special note of gratitude goes to Lic. Cecilia Cordoba, our former COO and trailblazing operator in Venezuela. Cecilia provided invaluable insights into the on-ground realities and necessities. As she embarks on her new journey away from our organization, we send our heartfelt wishes to her and her family.
Dr. Andrés Ortiz and Lic Miglene López will continue to be part of the team in Venezuela; we want to thank them for their continuous support.
HOW WE DID IT
The past quarter at Healing Venezuela has been bustling with activities. We continue to be deeply moved by the unwavering support we receive. Many of our dedicated volunteers have undertaken various initiatives – from cycling and running to dancing – all in the name of fundraising. Our Goodwill Ambassador, Jemelin Artigas, organised a great event to support our cause further. Our heartfelt thanks go out to every individual involved. We hosted our annual gathering in the Cotswolds, a tradition that has rooted itself over the years, to express our gratitude to our volunteers. We also welcomed new volunteers during a training session in London.
At this point, we usually ask you to donate to support our programme. However, today, we’re taking an unconventional route by asking you to hold off on donating—for the time being!We’ve set our sights on an ambitious fundraising event scheduled for November 28th. Despite the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, we’ve identified resilient communities and institutions that are gradually laying the groundwork for the country’s renewal. We’re eager for you to join us in celebrating and supporting their efforts.
Keep an eye out for more updates!