Mar 31, 2021 - World

UN agency calls for "urgent funding to save lives" of women in Venezuela

Photo of a woman holding a sign that indicates the number of femicides in Venezuela in Spanish
A woman holds a banner indicating the number of femicides in different years during a march for International Women's Day in Caracas, Venezuela. Photo: Javier Campos/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The United Nations' sexual and reproductive health agency pushed international allies Wednesday to provide $26.7 million in funding that would go toward "life-saving sexual and reproductive services and a multi-sectoral response to gender-based violence" in Venezuela.

Why it matters: The 2020 Venezuela humanitarian response plan was one of the world’s lowest-funded, UNFPA says. The country's severe political and economic crises have forced millions to flee their homes.

By the numbers: According to UNFPA, women and girls in Venezuela face a number of challenges, including:

  • Rising rates of adolescent pregnancy (95 per 1,000 women aged 15-19). 
  • Rising rates of maternal mortality (98.87 deaths per 100,000 live births).
  • Lack of access to free contraceptives (around 80% shortage of supplies).
  • Rising gender-based violence, including rape and sexual slavery, especially when it comes to Indigenous and displaced women.

Venezuela has an estimated 70% dropout rate of medical and nursing staff in its health system, the agency said, and the loss of operational capacity impacts access to critical services. This has been compounded by the coronavirus.

What they're saying: "From the streets of Caracas to the most remote communities, many women and girls across Venezuela need urgent support," said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem.

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