The arrow shows where the school is, just 30 meters from the garbage dump
Tuesday March 21, 2017
Because of the disaster and the collapse of the government agencies in charge of public health and eradication and control of infectious diseases, the San Juan y Martínez municipality in the Pinar del Río province has been hit by bacterial meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis claimed the life of an 11-year old boy, and a girl the same age is in critical condition. It all began when in the afternoon of March 16 of this year the administration of the “Antonio Guiteras” semi boarding school called the boy’s father because the child had a very high fever. On the way to the “Isidro de Armas” municipality hospital they checked his temperature and realized it was above 40 degrees. When his transfer to the “Paquito González” provincial children’s hospital was decided there was no ambulance, and after a 6-hour wait the father, quite scared, rented a private vehicle at 15 CUC. Upon arrival at the hospital, he was urgently taken to the intensive care room, and the following day at 8:00 AM he died due to the infection level and the delay in treating and diagnosing the illness. Many people attended the funeral, move by the event but at the same time quite concerned because of the hygienic sanitary situation of the San Juan municipality.
As a control measure it has been decided to check in all children arriving in hospitals with a fever or other suspicious symptoms. The hospital in San Juan y Martínez and the provincial Children’s Hospital have filled their capacity, placing patients in hallways. No serious cases have been reported so far, but cases with similar symptoms keep arriving in hospitals.
The provincial government and the public health system dramatize in order to counter the dimension of the problem, when they are actually guilty of the deplorable situation all Cubans live in. It is no secret that the people’s complaints for the competent agencies and bodies to become aware and fulfill their job have been unheard, and they hide behind the lack of resources.
Overflowing garbage dumps are seen throughout Cuba, since it takes more than a week to collect them. Wastewaters pollute rivers and drinking water, besides stagnating and serve as a haven for insects and illnesses. Hospitals are filled with students or recent graduates because good specialists are on missions in other countries. Lack of drugs, poor diet and lack of consciousness of people in charge of solving those problems are the reason for such epidemics to impact the people’s health and safety. The Defensoría del Pueblo (People’s Defender Office) complains against the people’s state of helplessness before such disasters.
By Rolando Pupo Carralero, Occidente Coordinator, National Executive Committee member and People’s Defender
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