Dec 06, 2023

Medical Teams International Provides Access to Healthcare and Essential Supplies for Venezuelans in Search of a Hopeful Future

Colombia + 1 more

President & CEO Martha Newsome to visit Medical Teams programs in Colombia where the majority of Venezuelans who left their country begin their migrant journey.

(Portland, OR) May 19, 2023 – Since 2019, Medical Teams International, a global health and humanitarian relief organization, has been providing access to critically needed healthcare services to Venezuelan migrants and host communities in Colombia. This week, Medical Teams’ President & CEO is visiting these U.S.-supported programs that are helping migrant families settle into healthier and more stable circumstances.

Of the estimated 7 million Venezuelans who have fled the economic and social collapse in their home country, more than 2.5 million are in Colombia. With the recent lifting of Title 42, the U.S. government is now opening regional processing centers in Colombia to assist migrants with accessing legal migration pathways. (Title 42 was a pandemic-era act that allowed U.S. authorities to expel undocumented migrants from the border, suspending their legal right to ask for asylum in the U.S.) However, the majority of Venezuelans in Colombia are seeking to settle there rather than take the dangerous and uncertain journey northward. Medical Teams supports those who have settled or are still in transit, to prevent healthcare emergencies and provide access to primary healthcare services.

"So many Venezuelans have endured physical and psychological distress from uprooting their lives. Many have made heartbreaking decisions to leave family and livelihoods behind, and most have not had access to regular healthcare for their children for years," said Martha Newsome, President& CEO of Medical Teams International. "Our work is critical to the long-term stability and well-being of Venezuelan and Colombian families. We are supporting the local healthcare system as they absorb this massive population growth, especially as they are still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The goal of Medical Teams’ work in Colombia is to save and improve lives through increased access to primary healthcare services, sexual and reproductive health, and maternal, newborn and child health. Medical Teams works in the cities with high numbers of Venezuelan migrants, facilitating access to psychosocial support for women and children in Venezuelan refugee and migrant and Colombian returnee populations. To help prevent the spread of illness, we also provide access to hygiene and home products through a voucher system, which has benefited over 19,000 people.

Medical Teams trains community health workers and volunteers to reach out to their neighbors and promote healthy behaviors. Volunteers connect weekly with households in their coverage area to share what they’ve learned and create a multiplying effect that benefits the whole community. They also monitor high-risk people, like pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those with non-communicable diseases, providing case management and referral pathways for those outside the formal healthcare system. In the past year, Medical Teams has educated over 56,000 people and helped 3,000 people access healthcare.*

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About Medical Teams International

Founded in 1979, Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, such as survivors of natural disasters and refugees. We care for the whole person— physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. Daring to love like Jesus, we serve all people—regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. Learn more at and on social media using @medicalteams.

*Medical Teams Midline Survey Results

To measure and evaluate program impact and contextual change across all project locations supported by the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), Medical Teams conducted a midline survey, measuring changes in indicators from the 2021 baseline.

The findings of this survey can provide a better understanding of: 1) the factors that affect behavior and decision-making related to healthcare access, 2) the knowledge and practices related to maternal, newborn, and child health, and 3) the COVID-19 pandemic among Venezuelan migrants and vulnerable Colombians within migrant hosting communities.

The survey was conducted with 570 women from Venezuela and Colombia settled in communities where Medical Teams’ programs are present. Below are some of the relevant findings:

45% of Venezuelan women are single mothers65% of the household income of Venezuelan families is less than 100USD per month5% of these women are in regular status in Colombia95% of them want to settle in Colombia50% do not have healthcare affiliation5% of the women have reached their volunteer at least 1 time in the last 3 monthsJust 51.2% received a prenatal check-up in their 1st pregnancy trimester31% suffer from anxiety/depression in a mild level, 30% in the moderate level, 11% in the moderately severe and 2.5% in severe.90% of their worries are about financial situation, 73% about food, 69% about jobs, 47% education, 41% about health.