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May 9, 2019

WHO sets up eight screening camps in Ratodero


May 9, 2019

SUKKUR: The provincial head of World Health Organization, Dr Sara Salman, along with a 70-member delegation of doctors visited the blood screening test camps for HIV to supervise the procedure in Ratodero, Larkana.

Expressing her concern over the outbreak of HIV especially among the children, Dr Sara pledged that WHO would render all-possible help to control the fatal viral infection.

WHO has set up eight screening camps in Taluka Hospital Ratedero. She also met with the divisional commissioner Larkana, DHO and other officials to acquaint herself about the details of the HIV outbreak. Pakistan Medical Association has published several articles over the years, chronicling the spread of AIDs/HIV in Pakistan. One of the experts with several articles is Arshad Altaf of the Canada-Pakistan HIV/AIDS Surveillance Project of Canadian International Development Agency. In 2003, he reported 17 positive cases of HIV who contracted it through injectable drugs in Larkana.

In 2014, the Sindh AIDS Control Programme confirmed a large number of AIDS patients. The same year in a research article published in the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association, experts Ashraf Memon, Sameera Haider and Arshad Altaf reported a large number of AIDS/ HIV cases among sex workers of Larkana comprising women and transgenders who allowed unprotected sex without condoms. Most of their clients were unmarried or even married men, migrant workers and truck drivers spending long time away from home.

By 2016, another outbreak was reported in Larkana when 50 dialysis patients in Chandka Medical College tested HIV positive causing a big alarm. The National AIDS Control Programme also confirmed the number.

But despite the prevalence of the viral infection in Larkana and surrounding areas and the risk population, nothing was done on a sustainable basis to contain the spread or ensure medical practices in line with the international medical practices. Quacks continued to operate with impunity and doctors recklessly operated reusing infected syringes and drips as found to be the cause of the recent upsurge among children.

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