A Qom child from the province of Chaco died of a pneumonia brought about by tuberculosis and malnutrition.
Seven-yeard-old Néstor Femenía passed away on Tuesday at 1pm at the Pediatric Hospital in Resistencia, capital of the northeastern province of Chaco. He had been in and out of hospital since November, due to a tuberculosis he allegedly contracted from his grandmother.
Néstor was first admitted to hospital in his hometown of Villa Río Bermejito, from where he was first referred to a bigger hospital in J. J. Castelli, and finally to the Pediatric Hospital in Resistencia. During this ordeal, doctors stated that Néstor’s family “escaped” twice from the hospitals in Bermejito and Castelli, taking the child back to their home with them.
When he was admitted to the Resistencia hospital, on 19th December, he suffered from acute pneumonia, linked to tuberculosis and malnutrition. The child had two heart attacks whilst in hospital, and on 3rd January his situation aggravated and he fell into a “general collapse”, which affected the functioning of 70% of his organs.
Néstor was the oldest son of Roxana Sánchez (26) and Claudio Femenía (24). He had four siblings.
Centro Mandela, an NGO from Chaco, said on a statement published on their website about Néstor’s death: “Illiteracy, poverty, and hunger are the causes of a disease that affects a great part of the Qom people. Malnutrition, with its irreversible consequences, infant mortality, lack of hope, lack of belief, and marginality are its direct effects. These are the main symptoms of tuberculosis, history’s largest pandemic, of which social and institutional violence are its most prominent signs. Its full name is social injustice.”
In the same week the news of Néstor’s death placed the spotlight on the dire situation in which the Qom people live, Félix Díaz, leader of the Qom community of Potae Napocna Navogoh (or La Primavera) in neighbouring Formosa, announced that the dead body of an indigenous teenager had been found in his province. The 17-year-old man was found dead by the side of national route 86, and the causes of his death are unknown. According to Díaz, he was the nephew of Norma Artaza, a Qom woman who has found dead on 12th December.
In a statement, Díaz said: “We are very said because we don’t have access to justice, last night a few of our houses were shot seven times with a firearm, in the dark.”
The Qom communities of Formosa have been protesting for years against police repression and for their land rights to be recognised and protected.