The crisis in Venezuela, which has caused more than 4.5 million people to go into exile, has particularly affected women.
According to Tatiana Bertolucci, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the international humanitarian organization CARE, “women and girls” are more vulnerable, both within Venezuela and when they migrate to other countries of the region.
“This crisis is a serious gender crisis,” said the expert at an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, on March 10.
From lack of health care during pregnancy to a higher prevalence of sexual and domestic violence, Venezuelan women are exposed to different circumstances than men.
“Women are the ones who get pregnant, and the lack of access to contraceptives and poor maternal health care affect them in particular,” said Laura Aragón, deputy director of the Pan American Development Foundation.
Between 2015 and 2016, Venezuela’s maternal mortality rate increased by 65 percent, according to data from Amnesty International.
Due to the precarious health care system in Venezuela, many Venezuelans opt to give birth in neighboring countries, like Colombia, where more than a million Venezuelans have taken refuge to escape the situation in their country.
In 2017, 2,100 Venezuelan women gave birth at the Erasmo Meoz Hospital, in the border Colombian town of Cúcuta.
“As we see this crisis deepening, we also see increased vulnerability” in women, concluded Rebecca Alvarado, U.S. Department of State’s team lead for the Venezuela Response.