HEALTH IN NUMBERS
Improving the provision of health services to a majority of the Venezuelan people has become a key priority of the Bolivarian government.
Despite Venezuela’s great natural resource wealth, the poor and rural citizens historically lacked access to basic health services. The new Constitution of 1999 states that healthcare is a fundamental human right that should be guaranteed to all. To make this mandate a reality, the Bolivarian government has increased spending on healthcare – it currently stands at 4.2% of GDP – and created free clinics in poor urban and rural neighborhoods, as part of the program “Barrio Adentro” (“Inside the Neighborhood”).
As of January 2009, Mission Barrio Adentro has made the following accomplishments:
- 24,884,567 Venezuelans have benefited, about 88.9% of our population.
- 630,491 lives have been saved.
- 6,531 People’s Medical Clinics, 479 Integral Medical Diagnostic Centers (CDIs), 543 Integral Rehabilitation Centers (SRI), 26 High Technology Medical Centers (CAT) have been opened.
- 13 People’s Clinics, 459 People’s Opticians and 3,019 Consultation Centers and Dental Clinics have been opened.
Due to these ambitious measures, nearly 90% of the population currently benefits from some type of government-funded healthcare.
Another impressive achievement is the significant reduction in infant mortality, which fell by 50% in the period between 1995 and 2005 [i]. Venezuela currently has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in Latin America and is well on its way to reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals for 2015 [ii].