In a shocking incident, the city of Ratodero in Pakistan has reported an HIV outbreak, that has created panic in the city.
Almost 900 children have been tested positive for HIV and authorities warn that this number could increase as not everyone has been tested yet.
As per the New York Times, as many as 1,100 people have tested HIV positive, out of which 900 are children below the age of 12, out of the 2,00,000 that have been tested so far.
A local pediatrician Dr. Muzaffar Ghanghro has been accused of reusing syringes and infecting scores of Pakistani children with H.I.V.
Dr. Fatima Mir, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the Aga Khan University in Karachi spoke to the NYT and said:
“The only good thing about the outbreak has been that it laid bare the multiple flaws in the system that the government with the support of U.N. agencies needs to address.”
She further added:
“What the outbreak in Ratodero says about Pakistan’s health care is that infection control is poor or nonexistent. Pakistan’s health care system is now trying to integrate infection control as a formal part of the system.”
As Dr. Muzaffar Ghanghro charges 31 Pakistani rupees (Rs 14), he is among the cheapest doctor in the city. So naturally, the poorest of the city come to his clinic in the hope of getting well.
Imtiaz Jalbani had six of his children treated by the doctor and said he once saw the doctor searching through a bin for an old needle on his son (6), who was later diagnosed as HIV-positive.
Meanwhile, a police investigation into the accused is continuing and he has only been cleared of the charge that he had intentionally spread the virus.
But, what left us confused and shocked is the fact that even the doctor is still facing criminal charges, he is continuing to practice at a government hospital near Ratodero.
Lack of awareness among people and poverty played a major role in affecting the lives of 900 children and we hope the Pakistan authorities would this incident seriously and punish the guilty.