Jul 24, 2019, 7:06 PM
Journalist ID: 2078
News Code: 83410309
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Kids and deadly stings: how Iranian children die due to lack of US-sanctioned medicine

Chabahar, July 24, IRNA - Chilbon, July 6, half past eight at night. 6-year-old Abdulrahman Baluchi is rushed to the nearest hospital, some 30 kilometres away on a dirt road after he was stung by several Oriental hornets. 

Four hours later as he makes it to the empty clinic in Mahban Dehestan, he dies as there were no doctors there at the time. 
 
Chilbon is a small village in Gorgan District of the Mahban Dehestan, 80 kilometers away from Nikshahr, the nearest big city in the southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan Province.

 Abdulrahman is not an isolated case. Over the past several months, four kids have died of scorpion stings in three villages of Nikshahr County. 

6-year-old Abdulrahman Baluchi, victim of a deadly sting by an Oriental hornet. IRNA

These children have fallen victim because of lack of medication, such as anti-venom serums, that don’t make it to rural clinics in far-fetched and hard-to-reach areas in the vast Sistan and Baluchistan. 

Children stand in a desert area in Gorgan, one of the villages of Nikshahr County in Sistan and Baluchestan Province. IRNA

Chilbon is 80 kilometers away from Nikshahr, 30 kilometres of which is dirt road. There are many small villages in the region that are hardly connected by good-quality roads to the nearest big cities where there are better medical equipment. 

A narrow dirt road that connects Gorgan Village to other parts of the Nikshahr County in Sistan and Baluchestan Province. IRNA

IRNA has found out that there aren’t enough such serums like anti-scorpion venom serum, even in Nikshahr’s 22 Bahman Hospital, the biggest regional medical facility. Speaking to nurses and hospital officials, IRNA was told that sanctions and shortages are the main reason behind a lack of such vital medication. 

Hamzeh Amiri, a resident of Nikshahr says he himself went to find out the truth behind the situation. “I went to see the storage of venom serums in one of the hospitals and found out that there aren’t any,” he told IRNA.

“Sanctions,” I was told- he said- when he asked about the reason for the lack of the medication. 

One of the other Sistani kids that died to scorpion sting. IRNA

Ali Mohammad Mirzehi, a member of Nikshahr City Council, and also a relative of the kid, mentioned that local officials used to buy serums, equipment and other necessary stuff from the International Red Cross, but due to sanctions and bad economy, it's been very difficult to do so. “There is no more of spraying anti-venom chemicals,” he said, expressing regret that the local population should suffer from the unilateral US sanctions. 

Humanitarian goods are supposedly exempt from the US extraterritorial sanctions that were reimposed on Iran in August and October last year. However, the US move to stifle any international banking relations with Iran has practically blocked humanitarian assistance and trade as well. 

There are plenty of the Oriental hornets during summer as it’s the time for dates to ripen. They gather in groups and hide in every corner, making them dangerous for kids who play on the streets, according to Mirzehi. 

“Unfortunately, due to sanctions and bad economic situation, authorities can’t supply the regional clinics with anti-venom serums,” he added. 

Earlier in July, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the BBC that people are dying in Iran because they can't get their hands on necessary medication. Zarif has accused the US of engaging in an "economic war" by applying economic sanctions on the country that are targeting ordinary citizens. 

Tehran has urged the US time and again to lift the sanctions and return to the multilateral nuclear deal of 2015 from which it withdrew last year.

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