Political and Health Crisis in Chile: Four Babies Die from Respiratory Virus Due to Shortage of Pediatric Beds

The death of four babies from a respiratory virus sparked a political and health crisis in Chile, given the shortage of pediatric intensive care beds. He President Gabriel Boric He called on Friday to avoid mistakes, but also asked his cabinet to support his questioned Minister of Health.

The syncytial virus, which mainly affects children of months or a few years, advanced its appearance this year in Chile and, in an unusual event, it exceeded twice the number of infected compared to previous years in a country where pediatric beds are insufficient, according to the authorities.

The head of epidemiology of the Ministry of Health, Christián García, specified this day that Chile is facing the “most important rises in respiratory syncytial virus that it has experienced in recent years.”

The controversy over the disease arose after learning of the death on Tuesday of a two-month-old baby who was waiting to be transferred to Arica, 2,100 kilometers north of the Chilean capital, where the only intensive care bed available at that time was. Three other babies have died waiting to be transferred.

The Ministry of Health official in charge of managing the beds, Fabiola Jaramillo, specified that there are 1,087 pediatric intensive care beds between the public and private sectors, 47 percent more than the normal 738, with an occupancy level of 94 percent. . A tweet from the Ministry of Health indicates that 10 of the 29 health services in the country are with a 100 percent occupancy.

Criticism against the Chilean government was sharpened by statements by the Minister of Health, Ximena Aguilera, who stated that the baby was in such serious condition that “even if there had been a possibility of transfer” it was difficult “for her to have survived.”

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The questions to his words were transversal and from the opposition they requested his resignation. The opposition deputy Andrés Celis declared that he must take “a step aside.”

In reaction, President Boric asked his cabinet on Friday to collaborate especially with Aguilera. He added that efforts must be duplicated and “put aside any excuse and avoid any type of error”.

They demand resignations for the death of babies in Chile

The opposition insisted on the request for the resignation of the undersecretary of Assistance Networks, Fernando Araos, whom they accuse of alleged mismanagement of beds, as indicated in a letter sent to the president.

The association of civil servants Assistance Networks joined the criticism against Araos, whom they blame for not covering Aguilera’s back.

To prevent infections from continuing to rise, the authorities have requested not to take minors, especially the smallest, to any crowded place, family gatherings and recommended the use of masks for children. who go to schools.

The ministries of Education and Health have refused to suspend classes in the most affected regions, as requested by medical leaders.

Former health authorities of the Government of Sebastián Piñera (2018-2022) They affirm that the situation of narrowness of pediatric beds could be prevented because at the beginning of the year it was known that this year the viruses would affect more than in previous years. Generally, what happens with viruses in the northern hemisphere is often repeated later in the southern hemisphere.

In Chile, there are two health systems: a private one for those who can afford it, and a public one, which cares for 80 percent of the population. Both at times They have reached full occupation.

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2023-06-09 20:51:00
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