The Dangers of Forced Displacement: Chronic and Emerging Health Needs of Venezuelans in the Americas Region.

This webinar discusses the findings of a report on the health status and challenges of Venezuelans who have been displaced to other countries in the Americas region. The webinar is moderated by Tanya Gulliver-Garcia from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and begins with welcome remarks from Mariela Poleo, the President of the Simón Bolívar Foundation. The research report was authored by Kathryn Striffolino, independent consultant to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, and the Senior Manager, Humanitarian Practice for InterAction, who shares key findings from the research. The webinar concludes with a question-and-answer session with Striffolino.

This is the third webinar in the series “Lunchtime Conversations: A Learning Opportunity for Funders”, hosted by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

The key highlights are:

  • Since the start of the Venezuelan displacement crisis in 2015, approximately 6.04 million refugees and migrants have left the country. Around 4.99 million are hosted in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
  • According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Venezuelan external displacement is the largest in recent history in Latin America and the Caribbean and is ongoing.
  • Deteriorating human rights conditions associated with fundamental rights has led to:
  • an ‘inadequate standard of living in terms of health and well-being including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services.
  • The linchpin for displaced Venezuelans to have quality health care across the Americas is acquiring the correct legal status to access public health and other institutions.
  • For those conferred appropriate legal status, services tend to be limited to primary care in urban settings.

An anticipated eight million Venezuelans will have left the country by the close of 2022, with the largest number in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Brazil. They bring health problems from home and additional stressors contracted during their journeys, finding reduced access to care in their host countries based on irregular legal status. COVID-19 border closings forced migrants onto informal routes, where their lives were also endangered by exploitation and gender-based violence.

Approaches for Interventions

  1. Education, particularly around communicable diseases and preventive healthcare.
  2. Mobile units for rural areas and transit stations.
  3. Self-care outreach for conditions such as diabetes that the patient can manage.
  4. Increases in specialized care for complicated conditions such as cancer and psycho-social disorders.
  5. Two avenues for funders are 1) investments where the greatest number of people are or 2) investments where the highest needs are.

Ultimately, any care must be culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate. Integration and legal status in the host country will be the lynchpin for healthcare and other social and educational services.

Read the full report here

Read the PowerPoint Presentation here

Read the executive summary here

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in these discussions and any presentation are only those of the presenter, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of (nor are they endorsed by) the organization where the presenter works, the organizer of this conference, the Simón Bolívar Foundation or CITGO Petroleum Corporation. These discussions and presentations are for general information purposes only. They are not intended to constitute legal advice or a recommended course of action in any situation. Each recipient should consult an independent advisor before making any decision or taking any action related to the information provided during this meeting.