Well-educated Venezuelans who left the country seeking better opportunities frequently find themselves performing odd jobs to get by. That includes thousands of Venezuelans trained in the medical field.
According to reports, more than 22,000 physicians have left the country in the past five years. Most of them relocating in neighboring countries like Colombia, Brazil, or to the South, in countries like Peru, Argentina and Chile.
But the process to re-validate their credentials as medics is rather complicated. It's especially lengthy when trying to deal with government bureaucracy in both Venezuela and the adopted country.
Nevertheless, the influx of Venezuelan trained physicians and nurses, once passed the bureaucratic process of re-validation, have been filling gaps in countries where deep health inequalities are present, especially in remote, rural areas.
With COVID-19 raging around the world, hospitals in several of these countries are seeing their efforts to help the growing numbers of sick patients challenged by the shortages of medical staff. The emergency opened the door and sped up the accreditation process so the talents and expertise of Venezuelan medical personnel could be used to save lives.
In Peru, Venezuelan doctors and nurses are being allowed to return to the medical profession. Facing one of the worst outbreaks early on in the pandemic, the country bypassed red tape and allowed the hiring of medical professionals from other countries, as other nations in Latin America have done as well.
Correspondent Dan Collyns bring us the story of one doctor who went from selling corn-cakes on the streets of Peru, to being on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.