Improving global prehospital and emergency medicine, public health, and disaster health care and preparedness

Adriana Tami – Profile

Adriana Tami is an Assistant Professor in Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Department of Medical Microbiology, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Groningen, The Netherlands and an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad de Carabobo (UC), Valencia, Venezuela. She was born and grew up in Venezuela, trained as a medical doctor at the UC, and later obtained her MSc, the Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene and PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. She has worked on malaria epidemiology, molecular diversity, and drug resistance in the Venezuelan Amazon, The Gambia, and Tanzania. She currently also focuses on arboviral diseases of importance.

Adriana Tami heads the Epidemiology of Tropical and Infectious Diseases group (EPITROP) at UMCG. Her group has long-standing experience in running cohort and case-control studies at large scale in different countries such as Venezuela, Suriname, and Curacao. The focus of EPITROP is broad and encompasses clinical and field epidemiology, molecular epidemiology, temporo-spatial analysis of disease spread, qualitative studies, and public health of infectious diseases in the tropics and sub-tropics. The aim is to identify ways to better target surveillance and control measures and improve preparedness against epidemics of important diseases such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika.

Presentation: Complex Humanitarian Health Crisis: Venezuela in Emergency

During the past four years, Venezuela has plunged into a humanitarian, economic, and health crisis of extraordinary proportions. Economic and political mismanagement have precipitated a general collapse of Venezuela’s health system with hyperinflation rates above 25,000%, increased poverty, and long-term shortages of essential medicines and medical supplies. This complex situation has resulted in the dismantling of structures at the institutional, legal, political, social, and economic levels affecting the life and well-being of the entire population.

In this context, the rapid resurgence of previously well-controlled diseases, such as vaccine-preventable (measles, diphtheria) and arthropod-borne (malaria, dengue) diseases has turned them into epidemics of unprecedented magnitudes. In response to Venezuela’s rapidly decaying situation, a massive population exodus is ongoing towards neighboring countries. Emigrating infected individuals are unwillingly causing a spill-over of diseases beyond Venezuela’s boundaries. With a government in denial of the current healthcare tragedy and neglect towards the re-emergence of diseases, a dangerous scenario is brewing for even further epidemics of vast consequences not only in Venezuela but in the region of the Americas.