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Been wanting to write about the #HIV outbreak in Ratodero, Larakana for the past few days. Done with my news report for the paper and now I can share what is on my mind. Interviewed parents, children, civil society members and policemen in the community. Overall anger, disbelief.
Most of the victims have no idea of the severity of the disease. Most of them are children between 0-14 years of age. Many of them do not have #HIV positive parent(s). Most of the families are simple-minded people, bogged down by abject poverty, illiteracy, hunger and ill health.
Ratodero is a small city with a pretty pathetic healthcare system. THQ Hospital struggles with the daily load of sick from all over the city as well as neighbouring towns and villages. People only take their sick to the hospital when they are ‘almost dead’ cause ‘it costs money’.
Private clinics and maternity homes (some run by doctors employed in govt hospitals), homeopaths and quacks do bolstering business. 'Best treatment' for any illness revolves around administering injections, IV drip or in extreme cases blood transfusions (hence syringes, needles).
Over 600 people have tested #HIV positive, with many having no history of risky behaviour (drugs, unsafe sex). Local media has left no stone unturned in sharing the names, contact, reports. As a result those affected are facing a backlash from the community and being hounded out.
It’s a tough road ahead for the HIV positive people. Sindh govt needs to stand up and own these people. Don’t leave these vulnerable men, women and children alone. Also urge @ImranKhanPTI to visit #Ratodero, see their problems and ensure these #HIV+ Pakistanis are taken care of.
Don't have the heart to share photos of #HIV positive children but what I can tell you is that their parents have the most haunted eyes. There is this fear of the unknown, of not knowing what is ailing their child, of knowing they wont be able to take care of their sick children.
A woman washes dishes in Larkana city. In case anyone cares, ‘Poverty increases the chances of poor health. Poor health, in turn, traps communities in poverty. Infectious and neglected tropical diseases kill and weaken millions of the poorest and most vulnerable people each year.
#Ratodero dcotor cleared.
Replugging my report from two weeks ago: JIT technical team members, infectious disease experts said ‘making one man a scapegoat for this is unfair’, urged the media to report responsibly and stop demonising the doctor and HIV.
Said it before, saying it again. It is unethical and against the law to reveal a person’s #HIV/#AIDS status to another person - cc #PakMedia. Outing identities of HIV+ individuals (particularly vulnerable women and children) serves no journalistic purpose.
In case anyone cares, government only has ART meds for 240 #HIV+ children. So far over 600 children have tested positive for HIV in #Ratodero, #Larkana. Saw this news pkg about the report @WHO team has compiled, concerns being raised on testing, treatment. Things getting worse.
As per the report, the provision of required ART is a daunting challenge as Pakistan only has stocks to treat 240 of 604 #HIV affected children. Medicine stocks being used to treat the 240 children in different hospitals would last only until July 15.…
Great! Sindh govt earmarks Rs1 billion for #HIV/#AIDS endowment fund for the welfare of infected persons during financial year 2019-20. Rs4.08bn allocated for effective implementation of preventive programs incl immunization, AIDS, #Hepatitis, Malaria, TB, blindness. #SindhBudget
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