KARACHI: An international group of specialists from the World Health Organisation ( WHO ) come here on Tuesday to help the response to an outbreak of HIV in northwestern Sindh at a demand of the federal government, authorities in the Sindh health ministry declared. Director general of health Dr. Masood Solangi, who gained the group at the airport, said the WHO team would visit Larkana to meet authorities from the Sindh health ministry and other specialists.
A conference between officials of the Sindh govt and the WHO group would be held on Wednesday ( today), a day before the latter would leave for Larkana to witness the havoc developed by the rampant incidence of HIV, especially in its Ratodero city. Sindh health minister Dr. Azra Pechuho, the health secretary and other authorities will accompany the WHO group. The outbreak was 1st recorded on April 25, 2019, and a major HIV checking program was began 3 days later. It was expanded on May 8, with other health workers being deployed.
Testing is underway Based on a WHO spokesperson, so far a lot more than 600 HIV cases have been identified. A majority of them are infants and young people: more than half of those affected are infants under the age of 5. “This poses a specific challenge. Before this outbreak, there were just over 1, 200 infants diagnosed with HIV and receiving antiretroviral therapy in the whole of Pakistan,” said the WHO official. a current report joint by the Sindh health ministry declared a total of 707 persons had been diagnosed with HIV in Ratodero after screening of 24, 227 people there. Some 580 of them, around 84 percent, are infants and the remaining 127 are adults. On May 16 local authorities established a new antiretroviral treatment clinic for kids in Larkana.
The WHO spokesperson declared that key tasks for the WHO-led team would include ascertaining the source of the outbreak and controlling it; providing technical expertise, particularly in the parts of HIV testing, pediatric HIV therapy and family counseling ; and ensuring adequate supplies of rapid diagnostic tests and antiretroviral medicines for each adults and kids , as well as single-use needles and syringes . The WHO mission includes specialists in emergency response administration, epidemiology, HIV clinical care, and infection prevention and control from WHO staff as well as the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.
“The group will work closely with the ministry of health and partners, including the Aga Khan University, Pakistan’s Field Epidemiology & Laboratory Training Programme, UNAIDS and Unicef in Larkana,” declared the WHO spokesperson. Special assistant to the prime minister for national health services Dr Zafar Mirza had written a letter to the WHO, asking for it to send a group of experts to Pakistan immediately to visit the places reporting about HIV frequently. Officials declared it was the 1st visit of its kind by an inspection team of the WHO to investigate HIV incidence in the region. Officials in the provincial health ministry said they were also looking into certain unverified records about HIV cases being detected in nearby districts.