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Venezuela’s Health Minister Replaced After Controversial Report

Puebla, Mexico, May 12, 2017 ( – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was reported Friday to have replaced his health minister, just days after new data from the ministry surfaced, showing major increases in mosquito-borne diseases and infant deaths.

Former health minister Antonieta Capporale has been replaced by pharmacist Luis Lopez, according to state media outlet AVN. Lopez has previously served as the deputy minister of hospitals, and as the minister of Aragua state’s health ministry.

Vice President Tareck El Aissami took to Twitter to thank Capporale for her work, though no clear reason was given for the change. It’s also unclear whether Capporale resigned or was fired by Maduro after heading the ministry for just over five months. 

The shuffle was originally announced in the government’s official gazette on Thursday; two days after news reports surfaced that the health ministry had released its first major report in at least two years.

The report showed a surge in mosquito-borne illnesses, including a 76 percent spike in cases of malaria. It also recorded 324 cases of diphtheria, a disease which was eradicated in Venezuela in 1992. Along with an uptick in mosquito-borne diseases, the report also showed an increase in infant and maternal deaths, though it didn’t release an updated infant mortality rate.

It’s unclear when the report was originally released. 

Published on May 12th 2017 at 10.53am