Take physic, pomp

What to fear, swine flu or an uncaring government?

Juan Sheput at his blog Mate Pastor made an excellent point today. The confirmation of 16 cases of swine flu (or AH1N1 if you insist) in Peru has caused consternation in Lima and headlines in all news media. The majority of cases are in a bunch of students who recently came back from their end of studies joint vacation to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

However, even though it’s only early in the Andean winter season there have been 42 children killed by pneumonia in the poor and high altitude Puno and Cusco regions of Peru. Here’s what Sheput had to say (translated) and for the record I agree 100%;

UPDATE: Make that 86 children dead

Swine flu or AH1N1 has arrived in Peru and its spread is exponential. There are 16 cases at the moment, the majority of those students that ame back from their college “promo” trip to the Dominican Republic. They are therefore children from middle class backgrounds. We hope they recover quickly.

But at the same time 42 children have died of pneumonia in Puno and Cusco. They are not mentioned or worried about by Health Minister Oscar Ugarte. They are children aged between five and ten years. Is it true that the lives of the poor don’t matter? It’s fine that resources are earmarked to fight swine flu (around 60 million Soles), but the children of Puno and Cusco also deserve the same treatment, and not even a million has been set aside for them. They don’t have antibiotics, vaccinations, heating or the thoughts of the authorities.

The figures for (Peruvian) children that die due to lack of opportune care in health centres and medical posts is extremely high. It is also unpardonable because the reasons for the deaths are totally predictable. Peru has never had the amount of economic resoruces that it has at the moment and it is therefore injust that children die due to this lack of care. Inequality in treatment is more than evident.

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