A report prepared by World Health Organisation (WHO) experts who are in Pakistan to investigate the HIV outbreak in Larkana has revealed that more than half of the patients in Sindh remain deprived of any sort of treatment facilities, Express News reported on Saturday.
An international team of experts from WHO had arrived in Pakistan near the end of May to investigate the HIV outbreak in Ratodero, Larkana, and to support local authorities' response to the medical emergency.
57 new HIV cases in Larkana
The team's first report back to the WHO headquarters in Geneva places the number of affected people at 751, of which 604 are children.
It states that only 324 patients - 47 per cent - have been provided treatment until now, while 427 - 53 per cent - still await medical assistance.
As per the report, the provision of required medicines is a daunting challenge as Pakistan only has stocks to treat 240 of the 604 affected children.
It further states that medicine stocks being used to treat the 240 children in different hospitals would last only until July 15.
The WHO team is working in Pakistan on a request by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination.
The mission includes experts in emergency response management, epidemiology, HIV clinical care, and infection prevention and control from WHO, as well as the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN).
The team has been working closely with the health ministry and its partners, including the Aga Khan University, Pakistan’s Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (FELTP), UNAIDS and UNICEF in Larkana.
In an earlier press release, the WHO said the HIV outbreak in Sindh was first reported on April 25 and a major HIV screening programme was then initiated on April 28.
HIV outbreak sparks panic in Larkana's Ratodero
The programme was expanded on May 8 and the WHO reported that "majority [cases] are among children and young people: more than half those affected are children under the age of 5."
As per the statement, the WHO-led team's key tasks "include ascertaining the source of the outbreak and controlling it; providing technical expertise, particularly in the areas of HIV testing, paediatric HIV treatment and family counselling; and ensuring adequate supplies of rapid diagnostic tests and antiretroviral medicines for both adults and children, as well as single-use needles and syringes."