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Tragedy Looms Large Over Pakistan

More than 500 people have reportedly been diagnosed HIV positive in the southern Pakistani Province of Sindh in the past few days… and, most of the afflicted ones are children! The local authorities have claimed that a doctor is responsible for this outbreak, as he repeatedly used a single contaminated syringe
Thousands of residents gathered at local Health Centres, after receiving the news. According to International Health Organisations, the real situation is even worse, as the number of infected people could increase in the coming days! The Health Ministry of Pakistan, too, has admitted that the HIV outbreak has sparked panic in the South Asian country as majority of the patients are children… the Ministry has strongly criticised the quack doctors for the situation. However, International Health Experts believe that Pakistan’s Health Care System is responsible for this accident

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The UN had reportedly warned Pakistan that one HIV outbreak could take place at any point in time. In a statement issued earlier this week, the World Body stated that there are around 600,000 quack doctors in Pakistan, and among them 270,000 are in Sindh… Dr Sikandar Memon, the Regional Co-ordinator of the AIDS Control Programme in Sindh, said that rogue paediatricians often use a single syringe many a times, especially in rural areas in order to save money… this is one of the main reasons for spreading HIV/AIDS in Sindh, added the regional co-ordinator.
Dr Memon informed the press that nearly 14,000 people have already been screened in Larkana and its adjacent areas, where the sudden spike in HIV incidence was first detected. He further said that the Government set up a number of makeshift Health Centres to tackle this situation on a war-footing! Nissar Ahmed visited one such Centre with his one-year old daughter, who has been infected. Nissar urged the Government to punish the local doctor for ruining the life of his daughter…

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Tariq Ali, his wife Parveen and their three-year-old daughter Uma Kulsum, the infected family

Meanwhile, UNAIDS assured the people of Pakistan that the International Partner Organisations were co-operating with local teams in containing, and investigating the outbreak. UNAIDS stated in a statement that the outbreak has brought attention to the lack of HIV awareness and education, mostly among the poor communities in Sindh. However, it is never too late or is it?

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