KARACHI ': Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said on Tuesday that steps are being taken to investigate the outbreak of HIV in Sindh's Larkana district.
Taking notice of news reports, the special assistant directed all departments to support the Sindh Health Department in this regard.
According to Radio Pakistan, a team consisting of both federal and Sindh health officials has started screening people in the affected areas, days after news report emerged of the outbreak.
More than 4,100 people have been screened for HIV and 157 positive cases have been identified.
The Federal Health Ministry is assisting the Sindh Health Department, especially to ensure a continuous supply of HIV Testing Kits and related medicines.
On Sunday, the number of HIV-infected patients increased to 156 from Saturday’s 128.
“These cases came to the fore after 4,200 people were screened during 11 days,” said District Health Officer Dr Abdul Rehman Baloch and Dr Hola Ram, in-charge HIV and AIDS Treatment Centre while interacting with lady health workers at an awareness workshop in Naudero on Sunday.
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“Among the 156 new HIV cases, 129 are children and 27 adults,” says a report of the Sindh AIDS Control Programme. “Some 90 infected children are aged between two to five, 26 between six to 15 years and 13 one year or less.”
Dr Ram said the number of registered HIV and AIDs patients in Larkana was only eight in 2007 which has presently spiralled up to 2,488.
The provincial government has tasked the lady health workers with creating awareness among the families about HIV and AIDS as well as their treatment.
“The purpose of calling the LHWs today is to send them door to door to create awareness,” MPA Faryal Talpur, sister of Pakistan Peoples Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, said at the workshop.
“The LHWs should go to the people as Sindh government’s ambassadors and tell them about the precautions and treatment of these health conditions.”
Number of HIV cases in Larkana rises to 65
She stressed the need to control the fear among the people about spreading of the virus.
She urged the LHWs to educate the people about avoiding quacks and stop doctors from reusing a syringe many times.
Talpur asked the district administration and the police to strictly warn the barbers against the use of repeated use of blades on many customers and about cleaning combs and scissors with antibacterial liquids.
“The people shy away from receiving medical treatment for HIV though the treatment of the virus is available,” she said.
DHO Baloch said the treatment of HIV positive children is possible.
“Like the patients of diabetes and hypertension take a tablet each day, similarly the HIV positive patients can also take a single tablet daily to weaken the virus,” Baloch said.
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