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29 children test HIV positive in Mirpurkhas


HYDERABAD:

With the history of the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among children in Larkana repeating itself in a short span, at least 29 children of less than three years of age have tested positive for the virus in the Mirpurkhas district.

The alarming revelation was detailed in a letter dated June 13 from the director of health services of Peoples Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) Sindh to the director of General Health Services Sindh.

The most concerning fact, as revealed by doctors at the Nutrition Stabilisation Centre at Civil Hospital, Mirpurkhas, is that vertical  transmission through mothers has been observed in some cases.

“All the other children are believed to have been infected by quacks and midwives,” according to Dr Lekhraj Maheshwari.

Among the infected children, two are from Sanghar, and one each from Tando Allahyar and Badin districts. The Sindh government sent samples of the infected children for retesting, but the results were the same.

Health authorities collected 289 samples between January and June this year, with 10% testing positive for HIV. “We have only identified 29 children so far. The actual figure is likely much higher,” a hospital doctor, who requested anonymity, feared.

According to the doctor, despite periodic health issues caused by quacks and midwives, government crackdowns on these fake doctors have been short-lived.

“Meaningful action cannot be achieved without convicting these fake doctors and sentencing them to jail,” the doctor said. “Simply sealing quack clinics for a few days or weeks has never been effective.”

Meanwhile, the Sindh health department has dispatched infectious disease control teams to parts of Mirpurkhas and Sanghar.

Teams collected samples from Pak Colony, Panhwarki, Laghari Pump, and villages including Sher Muhammad Talpur and Bangal Khaskheli in Mirpurkhas. Similar efforts were made in Jam Nawaz Ali and several villages in Sanghar.

 


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