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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Dozens of Indigenous Children Hospitalised in Northern Brazil amid Health Crisis

The government of Brazil last week declared a medical emergency in the Yanomami region

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

BRAZIL: Numerous indigenous children suffering from acute disease and malnutrition have been admitted to hospitals in northern Brazil, with family members holding their weak frames in situations that emphasise the seriousness of a public health catastrophe.

59 Indigenous children, 45 from Yanomami, were reportedly being treated in the state’s only paediatric hospital as of Friday, said the health secretary of Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima state. Eight people are receiving intensive care.

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That compares to a total of 703 hospitalisations for the previous year, said the secretary, mentioning that most children have been admitted to the hospital for acute diarrhoea, malnutrition, gastroenterocolitis, malaria, and pneumonia.

Last week, the government of Brazil declared a medical emergency in the Yanomami region, the largest indigenous reservation in the country. This came after reports of children dying from starvation and other illnesses caused by illegal gold mining.

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Officials have referred to the situation as “genocide,” accusing the former president’s administration of being careless. Some have even claimed that the area now resembles a “concentration camp.”

Regiane Matos, the health secretary for Boa Vista, said in an interview that “malnutrition is the biggest problem right now. These people were forgotten in their communities. It has only gotten worse in recent years, and we now want solutions.”

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She said that illegal mining in the area “worsened” the problem by badly polluting the Yanomamis’ primary sources of food and water, the rivers and streams.

Illegal miners have been coming into the area for years, but the number of invaders has grown since Bolsonaro took office in 2018 on a promise to allow mining on lands that had been protected.

The reporters saw numerous indigenous children in the paediatric hospital in Boa Vista who were so frail that their ribs were visible. Their parents requested help.

Marcelo Yanomami, the father of one hospitalised kid, stated, “Many are sick; there is no food. Many of our relatives have passed away. Many Yanomami has died.”

Last week, the region was visited by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The Brazilian Air Force opened a field hospital in Boa Vista on Friday to treat 700 Yanomami people and bring food to the area.

Also Read: After a Far-right Uprising, Lula Dismisses the Chief of the Brazilian Army


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