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VENEZUELA: Salesian missionaries hold health day with 12 doctors assisting more than 600 people

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(MissionNewswire) Despite the ongoing political, social and economic challenges in Venezuela, Salesian missionaries continue providing education and social supports across the country. On March 7, Salesian missionaries held a health day at the Domenic Savio Youth Center in Duaca.

Twelve doctors from different specialties saw more than 600 people, providing check-ups, analysis and diagnosis. The Salesian Portugal Foundation sent a donation of medicine for the event. Thanks to this contribution, many patients received medications for their illnesses, along with evaluation and diagnosis. However, much remains to be done in assisting patients with chronic diseases.

Salesians missionaries hope that with the support of many others, they can continue to provide support to all those in need in the country.

“Education is always our primary focus, but we know people in Venezuela are dealing with much more than just needing access to education,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian missionaries also meet basic needs like shelter, food and medical care. This helps to ensure that youth are healthy and are able to more fully participate in the education that’s provided.”

According to data from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), there are more than 4.5 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees in other countries. Colombia has hosted close to 1.3 million while Peru currently has more than 768,000. Products that at one time cost the equivalent of $1 in the United States now cost the equivalent of $10 million. Many Venezuelans’ monthly salaries cannot cover the cost of a single gallon of milk.

Venezuelan unemployment is estimated to surpass 44 percent this year and will likely hit the 50 percent mark in 2020. The state, however, has not released an official unemployment figure since 2016, when it noted a 7.3 percent unemployment rate.

For those who remain in the country and are in need, Salesian missionaries have continued their work providing education, workforce development, and social development services to poor youth and their families despite volatile conditions.