A poor Pakistani village has been left devastated after more than 400 babies and children tested positive for HIV in the past two months, in an epidemic attributed to one doctor – a pediatrician.
According to Dr. Sikander Memon – the regional coordinator of the AIDS Control Program, 410 of those infected are children, some as young as two months old . Since many kids are yet to be screened, there are fears that the number will increase.
Dr. Muzaffar Ghangharo – a pediatrician, who is currently living with AIDS, has been arrested as the prime suspect who injected his patients with the virus. He has denied intentionally causing any harm.
While the suspect remains behind bars, investigations are underway to determine if the outbreak was a criminal intent or gross negligence
Meanwhile, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) – a non-governmental organization, has called on international partner organizations to work with local partners to assist in investigating the origin of the outbreak and to stop further spread.
UNAIDS expressed deep concern that there are about 600,000 unqualified medical doctors in Pakistan, with almost 300,000 located in the province where the HIV outbreak occurred.
Various other experts warned of the grave medical malpractices from re-using syringes to hazardous blood transfusions. According to them, the problem is made worse by poor access to sufficient healthcare and resources in Pakistan.
The south Asian country has a population of almost 200,000,000.