The staggering increases illustrate how badly Venezuela lacks basic medicine, equipment and supplies to treat even the simplest of injuries.
Venezuelans say they must treat themselves at public hospitals.
“If you need to have an operation, nowadays, you must bring your own medicines to the hospital,” says Eugenia Morin, a 59-year old the housewife who protested against the government last week. “There are no supplies to attend the most basic emergencies.”
And it’s not just medicine. Patients are responsible for any material needed to treat them: needles, gauze pads, saline solution. When patients can get the money together to purchase these items, they become targets — hospital rooms are not safe from thieves looking to sell medication on the black market, or fellow patients in desperation.
And more than 13,000 doctors — about 20% of the country’s medical workforce, have left the country in recent years due to the collapse of the health sector.
The health figures only represent one of many crises in Venezuela, which was once the richest nation in Latin America and is still home to the world’s largest oil reserves.
As Venezuelans suffer through the shortages, the country, led by President Nicolas Maduro, is diving further into political chaos.
Stefano Pozzebon contributed reporting to this article from Caracas. CNN’s Sarah Faidell contributed to this report from Atlanta.