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Only End of Land Disputes Will Solve Indian Problems in Brazil

A new pediatric unit, with 20 beds, was inaugurated earlier this month at the University Hospital of Dourados, in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Six of the beds will be for intensive care (ICU). Six children have died of malnutrition in Indian villages since the beginning of this year.

Besides hospital care, the National Health Foundation (Funasa) is evaluating all the children in the region to discover new cases of malnutrition.

In Dourados alone, there are six medical teams, each one consisting of a doctor, nurse, and nutritionist. The campaign began around at the end of February.

One of the teams works with infants up to six-months old, one attends neighboring villages, three see to routine appointments, while the sixth is specifically encharged with children in situations of nutritional risk.

There are already 140 children in this last category. Their families are receiving basic food baskets, milk, and a multi-food mixture to combat malnutrition. The baskets are also being distributed to families that are not running nutritional risks, 329 in all so far.

Last week, health teams evaluated 200 children from the municipality of Tucuru. Other scores of children from Paranhos, Iguatemi, and Kaapó were also examined by the medical teams.

These are considered emergency measures. In the long run, what is needed are “projects that provide structural solutions to the problems of the land and invasions, since many Indians are unemployed,” said the coordinator of FUNASA’s activities in Dourados, Antônio Fernandes, a Cabinet adviser in the Foundation’s Department of Indian Health.

The Missionary Indigenous Council (Cimi) does not believe in short or medium-term results. According to the Cimi press office, the only way to resolve the situation in Dourados is to deal with the land problems.

Translation: David Silberstein
Agência Brasil


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