WHO group talks about the HIV outbreak in Larkana with health care minister

KARACHI: A day before proceeding to Larkana to get firsthand knowledge of the situation vis-à-vis HIV outbreak in Ratodero, Sindh Health and Population Welfare Minister Dr. Azra Pechuho and a delegation of team members of the World Health Organisation sat together to thrash out the problem. The WHO delegation appeared on Tuesday on the demand of the federal government to research the current HIV outbreak in Larkana. The conference was attended by officials of the WHO Pakistan, UNAIDS, Unicef, UNFPA, USAID, and other international and localized organizations and officials.

A spokesperson for the WHO declared the world health agency would be assisting the Sindh health ministry to find the root cause of the outbreak through a geographical mapping method and offering the HIV therapy kits for the affected infants. Recent records prove that out of 24, 568 people screened in Taluka Headquarters Hospital Ratodero, a rural health centre in Bangui Dero and common health units of Pir Bux Bhutto and Lashari, 712 people have analyzed positive. With victims of 2 genders are almost similarly affected by the lethal lifelong infection, a whopping amount of 583 victims ( 84 per cent ) are infants and around 56pc of them are aged 2 to 5 years. The rest of 129 victims are adults, current records display.

The officials declared the WHO delegation would also be assisting the health ministry to make a way-forward plan for patients diagnosed with the illness in the region. “Larkana presently has 4 established hospitals for HIV therapy and various checking camps across the district. The WHO team will be working closely with these hospitals and field groups presently placed in the Larkana district,” said an official in the ministry. The officials declared the Sindh health minister along with the WHO delegation and the UN partner organizations would reach Larkana on Thursday ( today ) to begin the field work.

“The health ministry, WHO and the UN partner groups are very eager to work together to eradicate HIV and provide treatments to the affected population as soon as possible,” declared a WHO spokesperson. Officials said key tasks for the WHO-led group would include ascertaining the source of the outbreak and managing it ; offering technical knowledge , especially in the parts of HIV testing , paediatric HIV treatment and family counselling ; and ensuring adequate supplies of rapid diagnostic tests and antiretroviral medicines for each adults and infants , as well as single-use needles and syringes .

The WHO mission included experts 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 officials declared it was the 1st visit of its kind by an inspection team of WHO to investigate HIV incidence in the region. The team arrived after a special assistant to Prime Minister for National Health Services, Dr. Zafar Mirza, wrote a letter to the WHO and furnished a request for sending experts to Pakistan to visit the places which were reporting about HIV frequently.

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