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Sun Sep 18, 2016, 08:42 PM

Macri administration orders 60,000 new bassinets for poor infants destroyed in Argentina.

Argentine Federal Judge Claudio Bonadío, a close ally of right-wing President Mauricio Macri, has ordered that over 60,000 bassinets intended for low-income expecting mothers be incinerated.

These items were part of Plan Qunita, a program to distribute 150,000 maternity kits that included a complete bassinet and 40 other infant care items. The program was launched in July 2015 by the Argentine Health Ministry under Macri's populist predecessor, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

The Macri administration sought Bonadío's approval for their incineration citing "the significant costs their custody and storage currently generate." Critics, however, charge that Macri, who has frequently sought Bonadío's rulings in cases directed against Kirchner-era officials, resorted to forum shopping.

The decision has been condemned by pediatricians, children's rights activists, and clergy as none of the studies cited by Judge Bonadío or the Health Ministry recommend that the bassinets be recalled or disposed. The Health Ministry has not issued a recall for the 74,408 that have already been distributed.

The 60,000 kits have sat in storage since April, when Macri rescinded the program by decree after Judge Bonadío indicted former Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández, former Health Minister Daniel Gollán, and 22 other former officials and contractors for alleged overpricing. Buenos Aires Province Governor María Eugenia Vidal, Macri's chief political ally, was the first to cease delivery of the kits in February, long before the Ministry of Health issued an opinion.

Former Health Minister Daniel Gollán pointed out that Bonadío annulled the results of the accounting investigation he himself ordered. While the Macri administration claims that "1.1 billion pesos ($70 million) were spent," their own published documentation shows that the six contractors involved were paid a total of 468 million pesos ($30 million).

Infants at risk

"The program had been operating perfectly, and its goal was to prevent 2,000 infant deaths and 100 maternal deaths a year," Gollán said in an interview with local news daily Página/12. "There is undisguised class hatred in Bonadío's ruling because it is the poorest who will stop receiving the benefit."

Some 8,200 Argentine infants (10.6 per 1000 live births) died before their first birthday in 2014. Pediatricians generally agree that bed sharing in households too poor to afford a crib or bassinet was a leading cause of preventable infant deaths in Argentina.

Dr. Alicia Benítez, Chief of Neonatology at the Sardá Maternity Hospital in Buenos Aires, noted that the 0800 line made available for customer service inquiries related to Plan Qunita "received around 20,000 calls, and not a single one involved a hazard." Each kit, she remarked, was distributed solely through the 289 participating maternity wards nationwide, where parents were instructed on their use and given follow-up appointments as a requirement for their Universal Pregnancy Entitlement (AUE) benefit.

The percentage of newborns having access to optimally safe sleeping conditions, according to Dr. Benítez, rose from 89% to 94% in just five months.

The Health Ministry cited a National Industrial Technology Institute (INTI) study from 2015, and a more recent one by the Argentine Pediatric Society (SAP) showing that the blankets "present a suffocation and overheating hazard" - but only if used incorrectly. None of the studies recommend the bassinets be recalled or disposed.

Dr. Alejandro Jenik, Chief of Neonatology at the Italian Hospital in Buenos Aires and internationally recognized authority on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), repudiated Bonadío's interpretation of the studies. "Before these cribs are destroyed, an interdisciplinary team should be formed to determine the feasibility of distributing the cribs with very strict recommendations for parents - primarily that they not be used after six months," he said.

The politics of children

Congresswoman Carolina Gailliard of the center-left FpV submitted a draft declaration in Congress to express concern over the decision to destroy the bassinets, and announced that next week the Health Committee in the House will summon Health Ministry officials to address the issue.

Dr. Gollán compared the decision to the systematic destruction in 1955 of everything from bed sheets to medical equipment and even entire orphanages because they bore the insignia of the Eva Perón Foundation; thousands of children died in a 1956/57 polio epidemic solely because iron lungs purchased by the foundation had been destroyed.

The historical parallel to the violent, right-wing coup against President Juan Perón and its aftermath was echoed by Pope Francis in March, when he told visiting Argentine clergy that "you are very young and weren't there to see it; but what is happening in Argentina is a kind of revenge towards the popular sectors and workers - much like in 1955."

"This discussion must be depoliticized," Dr. Jenik concluded. "Children's needs are urgent and children have no political factions."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pagina12.com.ar%2Fdiario%2Felpais%2F1-309345-2016-09-14.html

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Reply Macri administration orders 60,000 new bassinets for poor infants destroyed in Argentina. (Original post)
forest444 Sep 2016 OP
mercuryblues Sep 2016 #1
forest444 Sep 2016 #2
Judi Lynn Sep 2016 #3
forest444 Sep 2016 #4

Response to forest444 (Original post)

Sun Sep 18, 2016, 08:47 PM

1. deplorable n/t

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Response to mercuryblues (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 18, 2016, 08:52 PM

2. Isn't it though.

And wouldn't you know it, guess who one of Macri's BFFs is:

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Response to forest444 (Original post)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 02:11 AM

3. Shocking! It IS a war against the poor, a clearly aggressive, destructive, vicious act against them

and their helpless children.

So many poor people can't even afford the expense involved in buying those things for new children.

To know similar acts happened before makes it all that much worse, as surely Macri could NEVER have been stupid enough to not know about this. Clearly it was deliberate, it was intentional, it was meant to threaten. To what end? To inform them that if they protest this action all hell will break out everywhere, all over again? Harming part of the people in order to frighten all of the poor people?

How is it to be read?

Each new assault on Argentina by the "President" is diabolical. One day his fascist ass is going to lose this power grab, one way or another. I hope the fact his Nazi heroes ran Argentina for years has given him more confidence than will serve him well. We all know he's a filthy, amoral hump. Everyone does, including fascist trolls in the U.S.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 03:12 PM

4. It's all that - and it's red meat for Macri's right-wing base.

As you know, Judi, the Argentine right is not unlike in their U.S. counterparts: their main grievances pretty much boil down to the same factor: race.

Destroying these bassinets plays to racial hatred perfectly because most of the beneficiaries were babies of indigenous descent (many of them children of immigrants from Bolivia, Paraguay, or Peru - the three most hated countries in the world as far as many Macri voters are concerned).

Beyond issues of class and race, it's the kind of thing we see from the GOP all the time: using infants as a political ping pong, with heavy racist overtones.


It all looks nice.

But to right-wingers, it's just the wrong color.[/center]

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