Healing Venezuela was born to respond to the severe and high levels of child malnutrition Venezuela has been facing since 2016.
While responding to the urgent need to distribute HIV medications, AID FOR AIDS encountered 1,000 Venezuelan mothers – not receiving treatment for the virus – who were at risk of transmitting it to their babies through breastfeeding. It was then that we identified that feeding newborns with infant formula was the most feasible option to avoid death and deterioration of their brain.
This reality made us suspect that child malnutrition was a nationwide problem in Venezuela, and our concern was confirmed when at the end of 2016 the Minister of Health announced that “11,446 children under one year died in 2016: an annual increase of 30%.” The United Nations also published a report revealing that 18,000 children under 5 died during 2017, of which 15,000 were babies.
When we saw the urgency of this sector of the vulnerable population, we understood that we could not turn our backs on this serious problem. Beyond the tragedy of increased infant mortality, it has been shown that malnutrition during the first year of life affects brain growth and development. Therefore, the consequences of child malnutrition include death and irreversible brain damage, which prevents an entire generation from reaching its full potential. Similarly, the child malnutrition crisis is a violation of the fundamental human right to life.
That’s when AFA gave a full commitment to babies in Venezuela. At the end of 2016, we began raising funds to launch the Healing Venezuela campaign. In 2018, we secured nutrition for 400 babies during their first 12 months of life, with 15 allied doctors in health centers and/or care homes in 6 states. With the implementation of our follow-up and monitoring system, amazing and rewarding nutritional evolution was observed, increasing our commitment to this cause.
For this year 2019, we set ourselves the goal to provide nutrition to save the lives of 3,000 babies in Venezuela. Thanks to additional donors, and especially Globant, we continue to reach of goals to help the most vulnerable.
Currently with the contribution of Globant we are feeding 1,300 babies in 21 cities of 17 states, across 28 health centers in Venezuela. Additionally, we benefit 400 children under 5, with malnutrition, through the provision of nutritional supplements.
We continue to strengthen the sustainability of Healing Venezuela, and to achieve this, you are key.