Panic in Pakistani city after 900 children test positive for HIV

Henrietta Brewer
October 29, 2019

At least 900 children and 200 adults in Pakistani have been confirmed to be infected with the deadly HIV virus after a rogue paediatrician allegedly reused infected syringes.

Health officials then discovered that numerous infected children had gone to the same paediatrician, Muzaffar Ghanghro, who served the city's poorest families and appeared to be at the centre of the outbreak. The doctor who first identified the outbreak told New York Times that HIV prevalence will remain high if the authority won't crack down unqualified doctors.

Now well being officers say it's doubtless Ghangro's reused needles weren't the one supply of the epidemic.

Ghanghro insisted he is innocent and never reused syringes, and health officials have told he is unlikely to be the only reason for the outbreak, as there was proof of many doctors reusing syringes. When Jalbani protested, he said, Ghanghro snapped at him and told him he was using an old syringe because Jalbani was too poor to pay for a new one.

Several global health workers have also swooped in on the region of Ratodero to help test and treat residents. World Health Organisation, then, donated hundreds of testing kits and other health-worker teams from different countries made way to the city, to help.

The city of Ratodero in Pakistan has about two lakh residents, but less than a quarter of them have been tested for HIV so far.

He informed the Occasions his daughter, who's now responding effectively to remedy, has turn out to be an outcast locally. "We hug and love our daughter".

In May, one man strangled his HIV positive wife to death, and in June, residents of a town discovered their neighbour tied to a tree after she had tested positive for the virus.

In 2018, UNAIDS estimated that Pakistan had about 160,000 HIV positive people.

Reusing syringes in medical facilities is widely banned because needles can easily spread viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C between patients, but "syringes are often reused in Pakistan, especially among the poor", explained Quaid Saeed, HIV/AIDS advisor to Pakistan's National AIDS Control Program.

During those years, the number of infections in the 15 to 24 age bracket increased 36 percent.

The real number is likely higher; much of the population goes untested, while only about 10 per cent of people thought to be HIV-positive are being treated.

But clinics were said to have started reopening after media coverage dropped.

"Unless these quack doctors, barbers and dentists are not checked, the number of incidents of H.I.V. infection will continue going up", said Dr. Imran Akbar Arbani, a local doctor who had tipped off the authorities about the origin of the outbreak.

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