HEALTH

In face of crisis, Venezuelans sneak into Colombia for medical treatment
Public hospitals in Venezuela no longer have consistent running water and electricity, and medical supplies are scarce. According to the opposition-leaning pharmaceutical association, the country is making due with 20 percent of the medications it requires. 
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In this March 1, 2016 photo, Colombian national Diego Gonzalez, left, and his daughter Maria, cross the border into Colombia from Urena, Venezuela, as he makes his way to his dialysis treatment. Six months after Venezuelaâs socialist government shut its border with Colombia to fight smuggling, thousands of patients continue to make an arduous trek to get treatment in Colombian hospitals. Vehicles are no longer allowed to pass between the two countries, and patients who get special permission to cross must do so on foot. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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In this March 1, 2016 photo, Colombian national Noe Leal, left, says goodbye to his grandson Christian, center, and his son Pedro, before crossing into Colombia to receive his dialysis treatment, in Urena, Venezuela. As a terminal patient, Leal was able to get permanent permission to cross. Most Venezuelans have to apply for a one-day pass the morning of their appointments. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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This March 1, 2016 photo shows medicines and personal stuffs of Colombian national Noe Leal at his in home in Urena, Venezuela. Six months after Venezuela's socialist government shut its border with Colombia to fight smuggling, thousands of patients continue to make an arduous trek to get treatment in Colombian hospitals. As a terminal patient, Leal was able to get permanent permission to cross three times a week for treatment. Most Venezuelans have to apply for a one-day pass the morning of their appointments. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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In this March 1, 2016 photo, dialysis patient Diego Gonzalez rests at his home in Urena, Venezuela. The government's border closures has reshaped daily life for everyone along the frontier, but for the sick hoping to escape the country's collapsed medical system, the consequences have been especially difficult. Gonzalez is hoping Venezuelan authorities grant him permission to bring in his medicines from Colombia so he may receive his treatment at home. Private clinics run their dialysis machines in three shifts to accommodate as many people as possible, and still have no room for new patients. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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In this March 1, 2016 photo, a member of the Colombian Red Cross helps a Colombian patient returning to Venezuela in the border town of San Antonio, Venezuela, after her medical treatment in Cucuta, Colombia. Six months after Venezuelaâs socialist government shut its border with Colombia to fight smuggling, thousands of patients continue to make an arduous trek to get treatment in Colombian hospitals. The closure has reshaped daily life for everyone along the frontier, but for sick Venezuelans hoping to escape their countryâs collapsed medical system, the consequences have been painful and sometimes deadly. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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In this March 1, 2016 photo, Colombian national Noe Leal prepares his documents to cross into Colombia, at his home in Urena, Venezuela. Leal, a 66-year-old taxi driver in Urena whose kidneys are failing, shuns the Venezuelan chaotic hospitals, preferring instead to grapple with officialdom as he crosses the border three times a week for treatment in Cucuta, Colombia. He wakes with his roosters before dawn and braces himself for an interrogation at the border checkpoint despite having the proper papers, and then the long walk across the bridge spanning the Tachira river. "You feel like you're filled with liquid, and your legs don't want to move. But you have to walk or you won't get your treatment," he said. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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In this March 1, 2016 photo, Colombian national Noe Leal and his wife Maria Celina, listen to a Colombian radio station announce new requirements required to cross the border in Venezuela into Colombia, in their home in Urena, Venezuela. Leal, a dialysis patient, shuns the chaotic hospitals, preferring instead to grapple with officialdom as he crosses the border three times a week for treatment in Cucuta, Colombia. He wakes before dawn and braces himself for an interrogation at the border checkpoint despite having the proper papers, and then the long walk across the bridge spanning the Tachira river. "You feel like you're filled with liquid, and your legs don't want to move. But you have to walk or you won't get your treatment," he said. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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In this March 2, 2016 photo, a Venezuelan woman speaks on a cellphone with a friend in Colombia as she waits to cross into Colombia, in Urena, Venezuela. Before the border was shut, more than 100,000 people daily used the two main crossings in the region that includes Urena, according to the Venezuelan government. That number has shrunk to just 3,000 a day, nonprofit groups working in the region say. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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This March 2, 2016 photo shows a memorial to Danny Cubides, in his home in Urena, Venezuela. Cubides, a 33-year-old dialysis patient, collapsed early this year on the bridge connecting Urena with the Colombian city of Cucuta as he made his way back home after treatment. Before Venezuela's border closing, the trip had taken him 30 minutes on a motorcycle. But vehicles are no longer allowed to pass between the two countries, and patients who get special permission to cross must do so on foot. Shortly after New Yearâs Day, he stumbled and fell on the bridge. He was dead by the time he arrived at a Cucuta hospital, his medical records and death certificate show. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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In this March 2, 2016 photo, Colombian workers and students cross the border between Venezuela and Colombia, in Urena, Venezuela. Before the border was shut, more than 100,000 people daily used the two main crossings in the region that includes Urena, according to the Venezuelan government. That number has shrunk to just 3,000 a day, nonprofit groups working in the region say. In addition to the sick, Venezuela allows students, some workers and any Colombians wishing to self-deport to cross. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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In this March 1, 2016 photo, Colombian nationals wait in line for medical passes at a public hospital in Urena, Venezuela. Six months after Venezuelaâs socialist government shut its border with Colombia to fight smuggling, thousands of patients continue to make an arduous trek to get treatment in Colombian hospitals. Officials issue about 200 medical passes a day for this town of 40,000 people. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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This March 1, 2016 photo shows an image of the Last Supper on the dining room wall of Colombian national Noe Leal, in his home in Urena, Venezuela. Six months after Venezuelaís socialist government shut its border with Colombia to fight smuggling, thousands of patients continue to make an arduous trek to get treatment in Colombian hospitals. As a terminal patient, Leal was able to get permanent permission to cross three times a week for treatment. Most Venezuelans have to apply for a one-day pass the morning of their appointments. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

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In this March 1, 2016 photo, Colombian national Carmenza Conde helps her husband Oscar Lopez with his dialysis treatment at their home in Urena, Venezuela. Lopez receives his medicines from Colombia after Venezuelan authorities allowed the monthly doses to be brought across the border so that he may receive his treatment at home. Most have to apply for a one-day pass the morning of their appointments. Venezuela's shut borders has reshaped daily life for everyone along the frontier, but for the sick hoping to escape the countryâs collapsed medical system, the consequences have been especially difficult. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

In face of crisis, Venezuelans sneak into Colombia for medical treatment

Public hospitals in Venezuela no longer have consistent running water and electricity, and medical supplies are scarce. According to the opposition-leaning pharmaceutical association, the country is making due with 20 percent of the medications it requires. 

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