The inaugurations were broadcast live to the public with President Chavez, who qualified the new high tech medical facilities as “true hospitals of the twenty-first century”.
Hospital Ana Francisca Perez de Leon II in Petare, Miranda state, will now be at the service of approximately one million people living in the area, who will benefit from an intensive care unit, an emergency room, a surgery wing, a government pharmacy, a blood bank, a dentistry unit and classrooms for medical students, as well as many other services. The hospital cost more than 144 million bolivars ($33 million) to build and is furnished with state of the art medical equipment from China.
Giving a televised tour of the new hospital, Yadira Cordova, VP of social programs, highlighted the government’s efforts to create a free and universal healthcare system for all Venezuelans while criticizing previous governments for privatizing healthcare and depriving the poor of these rights.
“This hospital is a triumph for the Revolution and the people, and is a commitment to continuing to build the national healthcare system... the new national public system which has been developed in order to guarantee the right of all Venezuelans to healthcare”, said Cordova.
During the program, Venezuelan President Chavez also went on to inaugurate Hospital “Dr Raul Humberto de Pasquali” in the rural area of Portuguesa, opened 3 months ago after having been out of service for more than 20 years. The newly renovated hospital has a neonatal unit, a birthing room, a radiology service, a dentistry unit and a paediatrics department.
Speaking live to the President from the hospital, Governor of Portuguesa, Wilmar Castro Soteldo, stated that having such a state-of-the-art hospital in the countryside would have been “unthinkable” during previous governments, when dental services were a “luxury for the middle classes”.
“The Raul Humberto de Pascuali Hospital has been out of action for 20 years and it was the national government that made this huge investment and now we can see the culmination of this great work, a dentistry area, 5 operating rooms with high tech equipment and 310 staff, including doctors, nurses and general workers”, said Soteldo.
During the inauguration of both hospitals, Chavez highlighted that, prior to the Revolution, hospitals had been “packed” with patients due to a lack of primary healthcare facilities.
“Before, the country only had 7,400 outpatients departments, today we have around 11,400 healthcare assistance centers, which is three times the previous amount. In terms of outpatient departments in urban areas, rehabilitation centers and high technology units, before we had only 310 and today we have 1,969, that’s almost a 630% increase”, said Chavez, adding that his administration had also presided over an 11% increase in public hospital construction.
“The budget for health, education and social services will keep growing”, affirmed Chavez.