In one of the more shocking stories to come out in the past
few days is the 127 children that have tested positive for HIV. Sensing the
gravity of the situation, international health organizations have decided to
quickly dispatch a team of technical experts to probe the outbreak after no
let-up was observed in an HIV outbreak that has gripped the Larkana district of
Sindh for the last 10 days.
The National Aids Control Program (NACP) has stated that they have not determined the cause of this outbreak and are investigating whether the HIV infection is being spread through reused syringes, unsafe blood transmission or if it is some deliberate action.
On Saturday, 25 more children and four adults were tested
positive for HIV in Larkana after 619 people were screened for the deadly
Solangi said during the last 10 days, they had screened over
4,102 people in Ratodero, Larkana and the drive will continue till they
ascertain the root cause of the viral infection. In Larkana, a doctor, who
himself tested positive for HIV during screening, has been arrested. He was
accused by the Larkana deputy commissioner “of infecting 15 children” but
health services director general Dr Masood Solangi disputed the DC’s statement
and termed the doctor “insane”.
Larkana is known as the home to the Pakistan’s People’s
Party (PPP), which has faced many accusations of administration failures
throughout their tenure in power, whether national, provincial or local. This
case furthers thoughts accusations by showing that they cannot even manage
their own stronghold.
While all those investigating have assured the public that
they have nothing to fear, many are confused how such a large outbreak of such
a deadly virus could just happen. Quakery, which the doctor mentioned earlier
had been accused of, has been seen as a major problem in Sindh. This leads to
unsafe practices, increasing the risk of infection.
While institutions like the Sindh Blood Transfusion
Authority (SBTA), Sindh Healthcare Commission (SHCC) and the AIDS Control
Programme exist, they seem to apparently work in isolation. “We need to expand
the scope of screening to other districts,” an SBTA official said to the media.
Furthermore, the SHCC is a relatively new program, and as such, has been
plagued with inefficiencies.
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