© Marta Soszynska/MSF


Political and economic crisis and the social consequences continue to have a serious impact on Venezuelans.

On South America's northern coast, Venezuela is a country of striking natural beauty.

It is also among the most highly urbanised countries in Latin America.

The country has a wealth of natural resources, yet many Venezuelans live in poverty, often in shanty towns, some of which sprawl over the hillsides around the capital, Caracas.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) first worked in the country in 2015.

In 2016, we began providing mental health care to victims of urban violence in Caracas.

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MSF's work in Venezuela: 2017

In 2017, MSF expanded its activities in the capital, Caracas, providing mental healthcare to victims of urban violence and sexual violence, in collaboration with other local organisations and public institutions. The project, which started in mid-2016 in two of the city’s most dangerous neighbourhoods, Petare and La Vega, now also operates from one of the main public hospitals in the city, and receives referrals from the surrounding region. MSF advocates considering sexual violence a medical emergency and treating it in a comprehensive way to help protect victims from further suffering. This integral approach combines medical and psychological care with the help of social workers.

In 2017, MSF started working in Maracaibo, the country’s second largest city, in Zulia state. The team provides medical and mental healthcare to young people and victims of sexual violence, through four public health facilities. Services include ante- and postnatal checks, contraception, emergency deliveries and psychological support to individuals and groups. MSF health promoters also visit schools, sports centres and youth clubs to talk to young people about their sexual and reproductive health.

In Sifontes, a mining area in Bolivar state, near the Brazilian border, MSF started working with the state malaria programme to test, treat and prevent the disease.

Throughout the protests that took place in the first half of the year, resulting in more than 100 casualties and thousands of wounded, MSF supported hospitals in five cities, including Caracas, with medical supplies, psychological support and technical assistance, such as training for mass casualties.

find out more in our international activity report >