Mothers in Venezuela can't find diapers, medicine

Widespread shortages, inflation continue to affect mothers in Caracas

CARACAS – Amid a full-fledged crisis that has the Venezuelan economy on the brink of collapse, mothers continue to struggle to find the items they need to take care of their babies.

For mothers like Dayana Díaz, finding dealing with widespread shortages means the scavenger hunt starts early in the morning. It comes with long lines, chaos and frustration. 

Those who manage to get their hands on the diapers have to pay some 20,000 bolivares -- nearly 20 percent of the monthly minimum wage -- for a standard package of 15 diapers. 

With boiling political tensions, last year President Nicolas Maduro decided to seize a factory belonging to Kimberly-Clark, a U.S. multinational manufacturer of Huggies disposable diapers.

Kimberly-Clark decided to suspend production nationwide, but the Venezuelan government promised to continue with production. Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of Pampers, was still running factories in Venezuela, but had scaled back operations. 

Some have given up on the disposable diapers. Last year, Alberto Valerry posted the "How to make revolutionary diapers in Venezuela" tutorial on YouTube. Others are making  them out of cloth. 

Meanwhile, pediatric units at hospitals also face abysmal challenges. Dr. Alexander Mendoza, who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, is among those in the medical community who worry about the challenges mothers are facing. Mendoza said mothers are adapting.

The shortages, he said, have created a risky underground bartering culture on social media. 

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.