Venezuela has fired Health Minister Antonieta Caporale after her department released statistics revealing a shocking increase in infant and maternal mortality.
Vice-Minister of Hospitals Luis Lopez has been appointed to take her place, according to state media.
In the first figures released in two years, the Caporale-led health ministry said that the number of women dying in childbirth was up by 65 percent, while child deaths was up 30 percent. There has also been a jump in illnesses such as diphtheria and malaria.
The figures are a reflection of the country’s deep economic crisis, which has resulted in Venezuelans grappling with acute shortages of everything from food to drugs and essential medical supplies.