The Catholic bishops of Latin America have joined in support of the Venezuelan hierarchy, blaming President Nicolas Maduro for the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
Reuters documented the case of a 9-year-old girl, Eliannys Vivas, who died of diphtheria earlier this year after being misdiagnosed with asthma, in part because there were no instruments to examine her throat, and shuttled around several run-down hospitals.
The health ministry said deaths of infants under the age of one soared by 30 percent in 2016, a year when hospitals and protesters complained of severe shortages of medical supplies.
In 2016, 11,466 infants died in Venezuela, while 756 mothers died while pregnant or within 42 days after pregnancy. The report gave no comparative rate in relation to the number of births.
There were also 240,613 cases of malaria previous year, up 76.4 per cent compared with 2015, with most cases of the mosquito-borne disease reported in the rough-and-tumble Bolivar state.
The collapse in prices for Venezuela's crucial oil exports has left it short of cash to import medicine and basic goods. Two were hospitalized with gunshot wounds, he said.
Maduro is seeking to create a new super body called a "constituent assembly", with authority to rewrite the constitution and shake up public powers.
Everyday thousands of protesters take over the streets and everyday they are met by police trying stop them.
Anti-government protesters clashed with security forces Wednesday in Caracas, Venezuela, as crisis conditions in the country worsen. A group of demonstrators responded by hurling stones, containers of paint and jars of excrement at the troops.
At least 38 people have been killed in the unrest and more than 700 injured.
Masked gunmen opened fire on demonstrators elsewhere in the capital but there were no injuries reported. "Bringing demonstrators before them is a violation of their human rights", said the opposition speaker of the legislature, Julio Borges.
Current protests follow a Supreme Court attempt to strip power from the opposition-held Congress, the National Assembly, in a move that many believe to be aimed at giving Maduro's increasingly unpopular government more power.
One protester said he was using "poopootov" bombs because riot police "repress us with Molotov cocktails, with pellet guns...and this is our only way to throw something at them".
Human rights activists say more than 250 detained protesters have been put before military justice over the last week - a sudden upsurge in use of a practice they say violates the constitution, which limits military courts to "offenses of a military nature".