HIV outbreak incites alarm

About 400 people, primarily children, tested HIV-positive owing to unsanitary equipment and hospital malpractices. Fury and anxiety continue to surge in the hopelessly poor Pakistani village badly affected by the epidemic. Parents are going to screening rooms established at a makeshift clinic to get their children examined for HIV in a village in southern part Pakistan, where hundreds of people have been using a dirty syringe. Five different screening rooms have been established up in the last month in the village of Wasayo on the suburbs of Larkana in Sindh province. Fury and panic continue to rise in the poor village hit hard by the epidemic, which competent authorities say could be due to either total carelessness or cruel aim by a local pediatrician.
The HIV in Larkana’s Rotodero district has revealed eye-opening facts. About 14,000 people in Rotodero district were screened out of which 534 tested positive for the HIV virus. Of these patients, 270 were female and 264 male. The age group distribution the most affected age group was 2 to 5 years with 294 (55.05percent) cases followed by age group 6 to 15 years with 100 (18.7) percent cases. The prime reason for the spread of the virus was the use of syringes at domestic clinics and districts health hospitals. Health Department and Health care commission with the backing of District Administration have closed unlicensed laboratories, blood banks and clinics which are being administered by fake doctors. HIV/AIDs ART Treatment Center at Shaikh Zaid children Hospital Larkana will be established soon. Health experts have urged the government and health department of Sindh to concentrate on treatment as well because after the diagnosis of HIV virus it is obligatory to focus on treatment. Police arrested a doctor in connection with the spread of the HIV virus in Larkana’s Rotodero district. Police said a doctor was an employee of a public hospital and an HIV patient himself. Larkana continues to top the list of districts most affected by HIV in Sindh, with the total number of AIDS patients in Larkana at more than 2,400. Over all 76.1 million people global wide have been infected with HIV, since the epidemic started in the 1980s. About 35 million have died. There is no HIV vaccine or cure, and infected people depend on lifelong anti-retroviral therapy to stop the virus duplicating. Without cure, HIV-infected people go on to develop AIDS, a syndrome that weakens the immune system and leaves the body subjected to opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis, and some kind of cancer. Others worry their children’s futures have been desperately harmed after contracting HIV, particularly in a country whose people of rural are poor have little understanding of the disease or approach to treatment. Pakistan was long considered a low prevalence country for HIV, but the disease is rapidly increasing at a disturbing rate, specifically among intravenous drug users and sex workers. With approximately 20,000 new HIV infections reported in 2017 alone, Pakistan currently has the second-fastest growing HIV rates across Asia. Pakistan’s increasing population also suffers the extra burden of having insufficient access to quality healthcare following several years of less investment by the state, leaving penniless, rural communities exposed to nonqualified medical practitioners. Somewhat around 600,000 quack doctors are operating across the country and around 270,000 are practicing in the province of Sindh. It is observed that patients are at greater risk of contracting illness or viruses at these clinics, where injections are often used as a principal treatment alternative. Just for the sake of saving a little bit of money, the quacks inject innumerable patients with a single syringe. This could be the major cause of the spread of HIV cases. A large number of fake doctors along with the “reuse of syringes, unsafe blood transfusions, and other unsafe medical practices have all led to the acceleration in HIV cases in recent years. Wide spread medical embezzlement without any powerful checks and balances are causing regular outbreaks in Pakistan.
Though for the parents of the lately diagnosed, the continuing probe is little if they are not able to have access to accurate information and the necessary drugs that can help eliminate the dangerous virus. There are about 1,059 cases of AIDS in Sindh. Awareness programmes have been introduced in Sindh to diminish the infection of HIV/AIDS. Sex indulgers, drug users, transgender are the leading source of spread of HIV and AIDs and approximately 95,000 individuals are expanding the infection in Sindh. Nearly 24,036 drug addicts are living in Karachi, 2,164 in Hyderabad, 1,204 in Larkana, 1,016 in Sukkur, 984 in Nawabshah, 778 in MirpurKhas. A total of 14,810 individuals were screened from April 25 to May 16 and the number of HIV positive cases was discovered o be 534. Of them, 49.4 per cent were male and 50.6pc were female.
The federal government has desired the help of international public health organizations to probe the recent HIV outbreak in Sindh. This is said to be the largest in the history of our country. A 10-member swift response team from the World Health Organisation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will arrive in a couple of days and will be able to know the accurate reason for the outbreak of the disease in Ratodero. The CDC is a famous national public health institute in the US and works with several public health institutions in Pakistan. About 21,375 persons had been tested in Ratodero, a taluka of Larkana in Sindh. About 681 have tested positive for HIV and 537 are between the ages of two to 15. Some are being fewer than two years old, although the parents of these children are HIV negative.

Leave a Reply