The death of a young boy from the Qom indigenous community in the Argentine province of Chaco, one of the poorest areas of the country, caused public opinion commotion and triggered a debate as to the cause of his death and the miserable living conditions of the indigenous peoples in Argentina.
Originally it was reported that the child Oscar Sanchez, who weighed ten kilos, died of malnutrition but the government of President Cristina Fernandez argued he suffered of “hydrocephaly” which caused the “impossibility of assimilating food” worsened by a “pneumonia.”
The boy who died in Chaco suffered from a 'congenital disorder' and a 'degenerative disease', said cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez and accused opposition leaders of “making a political and deliberate use of this situation.”
According to the head of ministers, sanitary authorities of the Chaco province were following the case “day to day.” There is a “deliberate political use” of this situation by the opposition, Fernández added in his daily press briefing.
Wednesday's reports said the teenager had been transferred to the pediatric hospital from a clinic in the El Impenetrable region where he lived. He had previously been seen by doctors in the Néstor Kirchner Hospital of Villa Rio Bermejito and Hospital del Bicentenario Martín Miguel de Güemes in Juan José Castelli, according to the CENM.
When he was first treated in Villa Rio Bermejito last week he weighed less than 11 kilos, but when he was later taken to Resistencia’s pediatric hospital he reportedly weighed nine kilos.
“He was seriously sick with a bout of tuberculosis, and severe malnutrition that is associated with the sickness ... He also had meningitis and a bout of pneumonia,” said one of the doctors who treated Oscar in the report released by CENM (Nelson Mandela Center), a NGO which researches excluded, vulnerable social sectors.
The director of the Maternal-Infant Ward Gabriel Lezcano gave another version of the events. He claimed that the complications that had caused Sánchez’s death weren’t so simple, and were in part derived from a pre-existing condition.
“His main health problem was the brain damage he suffered due to being born with an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain, that causes mental disability and psychomotor retardation,” Lezcano indicated.
CENM claimed in a release signed by its coordinator Rolando Núñez that Oscar had not been properly cared for at the clinic of Fortin Lavalle, where he lived or at the Nestor Kirchner hospital where he arrived with few life-chances.
It's a similar case to that of Nestor Femenía, the Qom child who died last January y Resistencia of TB. Nestor was also suffering a severe condition of malnutrition, and at the time Chaco governor Jorge Capitanich; Healthcare minister Juan Manzur and Social Development minister Alicia Kirchner, were formally charged.
Oscar lived in Fortin Lavalle in an area known as The Impenetrable, 263 kilometers northeast of Resistencia, Chaco's capital.
TB, malnutrition, anemia, trypanosomiasis, parasitism and other diseases linked to poverty and the failure of the social sanitary public system are causing havoc among the indigenous communities who live in The Impenetrable”, said CENM. Qom are the second largest indigenous community in the north of Argentina, and representatives have met with Pope Francis who has promised to pray for an improvement of their living and spiritual conditions.