Number of HIV positive cases climbs to 519

Published: May 16, 2019
A nurse tests a blood sample. PHOTO: REUTERS

A nurse tests a blood sample. PHOTO: REUTERS

HYDERABAD: As many as 39 more suspected cases of HIV were detected during screening of people in Larkana district on Wednesday, increasing the tally of positive cases to 500 in just 17 days, according to unofficial estimates.

However, the health authorities have claimed that many of the persons tested positive in the initial screening were later turned out to be clear of the virus in the follow-up tests.

Around 23 children and five women are among the 39 new cases, which surfaced at Taluka Hospital of Ratodero, Larkana’s town where the highest number of cases have been registered. The total number of the positive cases has reached 519, as per the unofficial estimates.

On Tuesday, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho announced at a press conference in Larkana that more blood screening camps would be organised around Ratodero to speed up the process of detecting HIV and AIDS cases. She added that the camps would be opened at Banguldero, Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto, Lashari basic health unit (BHU) and other places.

The minister said more funds are required to conduct screening camps and provide treatment to the HIV and AIDS infected patients. He expressed the hope that the provincial health budget for the eradication of HIV and AIDS may be increased in fiscal 2019-20. At present, the provincial government has been receiving funds for the purpose of the Global Fund.

Missing facilities
Aga Khan University Hospital’s Dr Fatima Mir and Dow University of Health Sciences expert of infectious diseases Dr Shehla Baqi, who have been part of a team sent from Karachi to treat HIV and AIDS patients, continued to face difficulties at the health centres in Larkana.

Last week, Sindh Health Secretary Dr Saeed Ahmed Awan inaugurated the one-room HIV/AIDS Children Treatment Centre at Shaikh Zayed Children Hospital in Larkana.

The team has been also asked to train the doctors. However, the centre remained non-functional even after its formal inauguration and Dr Mir and Dr Baqi were made to work at the Civil Hospital’s AIDS centre, which provides treatment to the adult patients.

As hundreds of patients and their parents crammed in the centre because of the mismanagement of the hospital’s authority, the situation perturbed the two doctors. In a video shared on social media, one of the doctors can be seen scolding the people waiting for their turn for the medical checkup.

Dr Hola Ram, the centre’s in charge, told that at present it is the only facility, which is providing diagnostic and treatment facilities owing to which the number of patients infected with diseases has been identified.

He added most of the patients and their families are often seen in a hurry without waiting for their turn, which creates ruckus in the facility.

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