Valentina Oropeza


Times of malaria in Venezuela

It was published in Prodavinci between April and November 2019. It won the IAPA award for journalistic excellence in health and the Roche award for solutions journalism in 2020.

Image by David Dittmar

This multimedia coverage explains why Venezuela became the main focus of malaria transmission in America, having been the first country to eliminate it in 1961, before the United States, the Soviet Union and European countries.

The first piece is called How Doctor Gabaldón Defeated Malaria. It is a comic that tells how Dr. Gabaldón devised a strategy that made it possible to eliminate malaria in Venezuela. It has served as didactic material in schools, universities and specialized research centers.

The second is entitled Malaria and explains what the disease is, how symptoms are identified and what should be done in case of suspected infection.

The third is “We are malaria physicians”, a story that explains the threats and limitations faced by health personnel in Guayana, the main source of contagion and a risk area that is controlled by armed groups.

The fourth piece is Living with Malaria, a compilation of testimonies from patients and laboratory personnel that tell what the daily life of the disease is like.

The fifth is called The Malaria Scale in Venezuela. Data visualizations illustrate how the malaria transmission rate has evolved. It is the only digitized collection of all the malaria contagion data available in the archives of the Ministry of Health since 1937, when the Venezuelan State began to record health statistics.

The sixth one is titled aitäna nkotopak. It is a first-person testimony of a doctor who narrates the difficulties in treating indigenous people who live in isolated or inaccessible areas.

The seventh, which is entitled What to do against malaria in Venezuela?, includes the proposals for solutions formulated by specialists to control and eliminate the epidemic.