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BY MIRIAM MORILLO, Ultimas Noticias 27/11/03

Caracas. The chronic patients protested once again. In this occasion they went to the office of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Caracas, Venezuela, asking for mediation of the international organism, after breaking the dialogue with the director of the Social Security Office (SSO), when they received no answer for their demands of required medicines for their treatments. In that sense, they handed a letter to the representative of the PAHO in Venezuela, Renato Gusmao, in which they raise that transplanted patients and patients suffering of AIDS, Leukaemia, Hemophilia, Cancer, Schizophrenia and mental diseases, have exhausted all communication channels and are claiming for their survival which has been affected by the lack of medicines that would have been provided by the Venezuelan Social Security Office.

David Torres in representation of the affected patients said: “We have exhausted all the regular ways with the SSO. The dialogue has been broken because the negotiation process has been a big joke. We are appealing international organizations because we consider an injustice that there are more than ten thousand (10.000) patients affected with different pathologies around the country and the SSO has been ignoring the situation”. Alberto Blancos a representative of AIDS patients said “at this moment, there are ten (10) people who are obliged to live in the hospital because of the lack of medicines. We do not understand how the right to health and life, which is enshrined in the Constitution as a fundamental human right, is being seriously violated. We demanded the attention of the Ombudsman - Mr. Mundaraín -. He should pronounce himself on this problem because the life of the chronic patients is at great peril.”

Carlos Pascual, representative of the patients with leukaemia said: “the situation is serious because, from the eleven months elapsed this year, we have just received medicine supplies for four. The medicines that we require are excessively expensive and we cannot afford them".

“In fact, not taking the medicines after an organ transplant can have the outcome of loosing the transplant and therefore, the life. For that reason, it is a serious situation that we are facing up”, said Reimer Villamizar a representative for the transplanted patients. Last week, the president of the board of directors of the SSO, Earle Siso, announced that between Tuesday and Wednesday of this week the medicines for the chronic patients would arrive. An unsuccessful attempt was made to contact him in order to know if the medicines have arrived.

Translated by: F. Gomez

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