LN – La Puntana: an artisan fight against the scourge of poor diet

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For Diego Bustamante and his team, the
child malnutrition It is not a distant event that comes to them through the news in the media. “Unfortunately, it is a desperate reality that we see every day and the engine that moves us in our work,” says Diego, president and CEO of

the Pata Pila civil association
, who was born in 2015
in Salta with the main objective of treating malnutrition and child malnutrition.


Cases like those that met these days are much more frequent than it seems. I would be encouraged to say that every two months we have a case of a child who dies. However, as malnutrition is the context and not the diagnosis of death, because they die of different diseases, other causes appear in the death certificates, “says Bustamante.

Together with 38 professionals – nutritionists, doctors, pediatricians and social workers, among other specialties – and about 50 volunteers, the NGO accompanies more than 20 communities in the northern regions of the province of Salta, such as Tartagal, Fortín Dragones and Santa Victoria This (there they have a presence in La Puntana, on the border with Bolivia, and in La Paz Mission, on the border with Paraguay).

They attended more than 800 boys and girls at risk of nutritional risk: 200 were discharged and another 600 continue on weekly treatment.


Although some of the children who attend belong to families from Guaraní communities, the majority are wichis.
Although some of the children who attend belong to families from Guaraní communities, the majority are wichis. Credit: Sol Abadi / Sunshinelab

“Although some of the boys belong to families from Guaraní communities,
the majority are wichis, which are the most critical communities, to which the boys who died these days belonged, “Bustamante explains.” Minister Arroyo was yesterday (the day before yesterday) in La Puntana, where we attend families every Tuesday, “he adds.

Overcrowded in ranches

Regarding the profile of the families they accompany, they all live in
extreme poverty situation, isolated from urban centers, in housing emergency conditions. “They live crammed in ranches made with wooden sticks, roofs of sheet metal or plastic and dirt floors, bunk beds and poor hygiene conditions. Sometimes there are 12 people living together,” says Bustamante.


All families live in extreme poverty, isolated from urban centers, in conditions of housing emergency.
All families live in extreme poverty, isolated from urban centers, in conditions of housing emergency. Credit: Sol Abadi / Sunshinelab

On access to water, one of the main problems pointed out by Arroyo, Bustamante delves: ”
Many communities do not have safe water. Some municipalities approach water tanks every so often or go with the atmospheric trucks to fill the tanks. But in general they have rainwater collectors, with all the risks that that implies, for example by dengue. “

They are families that do not have support in terms of access to health. “And forget about a job opportunity: there is no local development or infrastructure in 200 kilometers. The only solution is to generate that development in the communities,” he says.

The approach they provide in Pata Pila is broad.
They accompany the mothers in an integral way: from hospital shifts to the ID. In the areas where the windows of the State do not arrive, they accompany the families so that they can do paperwork, refer the boys to hospitals and obtain maternized milk. “We also give him a bag of food or a share of milk, but what we do is work on education and the tools to break malnutrition. It is something much more complex than the lack of a plate of food, which of course is essential “emphasizes Bustamante.

They are families that do not have support in terms of access to health. And forget about a job opportunity: there is no local development or infrastructure in 200 kilometers.

Diego Bustamante

While boys and girls are weighed, measured, and a diagnosis is made, thorough work is with their families. ”
We seek to give mothers specific tools, such as how to breastfeed, prepare a bottle, boil the water they get or explain what to do if the baby has diarrhea so they do not become dehydrated. We tear down myths, misinformation and bad information“, says the president of the NGO.

A child recovered in a hospital often returns to his family who does not have the tools to improve his situation and who is far away from the hospital.

Diego Bustamante

“It's a big job,” Bustamante summarizes about the craft accompaniment. “A child recovered in a hospital often returns to his family who does not have the tools to improve his situation and to which the hospital is far away. Therefore,
We have interdisciplinary teams that monitor the family and the child every week. Then we visit the houses and each community to see if the advice is applied, “he says.


In Pata Pila they accompany the mothers in an integral way.
In Pata Pila they accompany the mothers in an integral way. Credit: Sol Abadi / Sunshinelab

From Pata Pila they also have a program of trades to strengthen the self-support of households and three
4×4 trucks that are itinerant centers and travel more than 1200 kilometers per week going to the different communities. “The impact of what we do is very concrete and makes the condition and quality of life of families. However, combating structural poverty in the region is not something that an NGO can do: alliances with the public system are needed and private, provincial and regional governments, working together, “concludes Bustamante.

How to collaborate

The aim of the Pata Pila civil association is to expand its sponsors and godmothers program, to be able to accompany more and more families. All contribution adds up.
To help, you can enter their website and make a monthly contribution. 100% of the contributions are destined to cover the nutritional treatments of children up to 5 years old that the Pata Pila team attends and monitors weekly in its Centers for the Prevention of Child Malnutrition and Human Promotion and its Itinerant Care Programs, reaching those most vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities in the north of the province of Salta.

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FURTHER

. (tagsToTranslate) La Puntana: an artisan fight against the scourge of poor food – LA NACION


Publicado en el diario La Nación