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"Venezuela Pleads for UN Aid as Medicine Shortages Put Millions at Risk"

Of the 150 medicines the World Health Organization (WHO) considers essential for sustaining a healthy society, Venezuela is chronically lacking 85 percent of them

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has demanded the United Nations deliver humanitarian aid in the form of medical supplies, which pharmaceutical leaders in the country have spent over a year warning are in short supply.

Maduro issued the plea on national television Friday, blaming the medicine shortage plaguing Venezuela’s hospitals and pharmacies on the “economic war,” a term the socialist Venezuelan government has used for years to refer to economic sanctions, particularly from the United States, placed on the country for its leaders’ ties to international drug trafficking and terrorist organizations.

“The United Nations has the most advanced and complete plans in the world to recover the pharmaceutical industry’s production capacity and direct it toward medicines for the people,” Maduro told his audience, urging the UN to act. To his viewers, he said, “I trust in you to keep advancing the strengthening of… the productive engines of the Bolivarian economic agenda.”

Over 80 percent of the nation’s government-owned medical imaging technology is inoperable due to a lack of resources.

As a result, the number of amputations of infected limbs – incurable without antibiotics – began skyrocketing in 2014. Mastectomies, due to lack of cancer medications, have also increased in number. HIV and teen pregnancy rates are also on the rise due to a complete lack of contraceptives.

Venezuela imports 95 percent of its medical supplies, leaving the country at the whim of its spiraling hyperinflation, which has made importing food, medicine, oil, paper, and other necessary goods increasingly difficult. Venezuela is facing a 500 percent inflation rate and, according to CNN, may see that rate rise to 1660 percent by the end of 2017.

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