Malaria Day

On this Malaria Day 2019, when African nations are at the focus of global attempts at eradication, one of the most tragic malaria epidemics exists in Venezuela.

Venezuela was the first nation in the world to be certified by the World Health Organization for eradicating malaria in its most populated areas, beating the United States and other developed countries to that milestone in 1961.

It was a huge accomplishment that helped pave Venezuela’s development as an oil power and fueled hopes that a model to stamp out malaria across the globe was at hand. Since then, the world has dedicated enormous amounts of time and money to beating back the disease, with deaths plummeting by 60% in places with malaria in recent years, according to the W.H.O.

But in Venezuela, the clock has been running backward.

Over the past few years, it all started at the gold mines. With the economy in tatters, at least 70,000 people from all walks of life have been streaming to the southern part of the country, said Jorge Moreno, a leading mosquito expert in Venezuela. As they hunt for gold in watery pits, the perfect breeding ground for the mosquitoes that spread the disease, they are catching malaria by the tens of thousands.

Then, with the disease in their blood, they return home to towns and cities. But because of the economic collapse, there is often no medicine and little fumigation to prevent mosquitoes from biting them and passing malaria to others, sickening tens of thousands more people and leaving entire towns desperate for help.

The Chavez-Maduro regime went through 16 Health Ministers in 18 years. Then in 2015 they stopped releasing health data altogether. In 2017 Dr. Antonieta Caporale, Minister of Health, courageously released an alarming report detailing a terrifying increase of malaria and was fired immediately.

It is now estimated that 1 million people have been exposed to the virus, making Venezuela the nation with the fastest growing cases of malaria.

The Maduro regime continues to callously prevent all approaches to mitigate the crisis. In the name of national security, he is not allowing any solution to be introduced.

Venezuela has been here before. Back in the mid 1930’s malaria was the main public threat. 10,000 people died every year and a third of the population was sick. Fortunately, Dr. Arnoldo Gabaldón left a comfortable research position in the US returning home to battle the epidemic.

In 1935, the then dictator Gomez died and new possibilities emerged. The new president declared the malaria epidemic as a national emergency calling Dr. Gabaldon to return. By 1962 malaria was eradicated and no Venezuelan died of malaria. You can read the whole story here.

Today we have powerful new tools to mitigate the advance of malaria. Working with Interim President Juan Guaido, we recently met at a Stanford University conference on Venezuela Dr. Julio Castro, who leads the battle for health in Venezuela. Together with millions of Venezuelans Dr. Castro awaits for the day when malaria can be rolled back once again.

Making a Difference in Venezuela

Dear friends, the situation in Venezuela is very critical at the moment. In the last two weeks the electricity and water supply has been severely limited in 95% of the country due primarily to the lack to maintenance and qualified personnel to properly run it.

Maduro rule is literally destroying the people in this nation. Venezuelans who are able to work, are earning the equivalent of $1 per day (average). This is not enough to provide subsistence for a family. As for example 1 kilo of rice costs $1, 1 kilo of cheese $10, 1 kilo of chicken $18 (when found in stores). 

A working family of 5 can be assisted with two bags per month of basic supplies for $30 per month.

We have been actively involved through two local churches and pastors who have chosen to stay back and minister to people. Their decision is indeed a courageous one as anyone seeking to help outside the existing government structures is viewed as an enemy of the state.

We are directly working with two churches outside of the capital city of Caracas who are helping their local community anyway they can: The Lord is our Refuge Church in Colonia Tovar (42 kms outside Caracas) with Pastor Abihail Lara and New Jerusalem Church in Turmero (90 minutes from Caracas) with Pastor Alexis Cortez.

We would like to provide two bags of food per month to 300 families over the next three months. Each bag contains pasta, rice, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, sanitary napkins for ladies, 1 kg of sugar, 1 kg of flour, 1 kg of precooked meat, 1 dozen eggs. To make this reality, we need to raise

$9,000 each month for a total of $27,000

Once the funds are available, a transfer will be immediately made of 100% of funds to an account that is accessible to our team in Venezuela. They use a debit card there to make wholesale purchases of the goods to be distributed.

We are in touch with our partners on a daily basis. We get receipts and updates for purchases made on a weekly basis. Pictures are sent of goods purchased and then pictures are sent of distribution opportunities. We continue in regular discussions regarding impact and response. 

People need food now and we are prepared to purchase and deliver as soon as possible

Any gift is tax deductible and should go though Next Step Ministries Tax ID 20-0287873  Address: 809 Pinon Ave. Millbrae, CA 94030  

See the video: Walking Backwards: One woman’s journey in Venezuela.