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Abandoned Parents of Babies with Microcephaly Go to Court in Brazil

07/29/2016 - 12h34

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KLEBER NUNES
RECIFE CONTRIBUTOR

The family of nine-month old Luhandra sold their car and small store, pulled their children out of private school and moved to Recife, where they now live with a salary of R$ 700 (US$ 212) per month.

The parents of William, eight months old, went to court in April to demand an additional subsidy of R$ 900 (US$ 272).

With only R$ 250 (US$ 75) provided by the Bolsa Família program, the mother of Pérola, ten months old, travels 400 kilometers from Betânia to Recife every week and sleeps in support homes.

The families have one point in common: they have searched for treatment in up to five different hospitals in Recife, the capital of the state of Pernambuco, for their babies, who have microcephaly - a brain malformation connected to the Zika virus, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

One year after the begging of the cases that gained international publicity, having Pernambuco as its focal point, the parents of babies with microcephaly complain that they have been abandoned by public authorities regarding the lack of public resources as well as the medical treatment and psychological support promised by City Hall and the state and federal governments.

Nadja Cristina Gomes Bezerra, 42, the mother of nine-month old Alice Vitória Gomes Bezerra, is helped by her family and strangers to pay for her daughter's medicine - it costs between R$ 79 (US$ 24) and R$ 300 (US$ 90) and last for one month at most.

Dismissed from her job due to depression, Nadja will have the R$ 800-disease aid (US$ 242) that she receives cancelled in September. She applied for the Continued Cash Benefits (BPC) program but it was denied by the Social Security program.

Folha contacted the Social Security department, however it did not answer why the benefit was not granted or inform the number of families with cases of microcephaly who receive the benefit today.

The Ministry of Health says that a new strategy was launched in March to send the families to rehabilitation and social assistance programs.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

Read the article in the original language

Sergio Figueiredo/Folhapress
One year after the begging of the cases that gained international publicity, having Pernambuco as its focal point, the parents of babies with microcephaly complain that they have been abandoned by public authorities
One year after the begging of the cases that gained international publicity, having Pernambuco as its focal point, the parents of babies with microcephaly complain that they have been abandoned by public authorities

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