Health Emergency: Around 900 Children Test Positive For H.I.V in Sindh’s Ratodero

In April, the disease was observed then pinpointed, and the results were shocking. Ratodero was the epicenter of an H.I.V outbreak, which impacted hundreds of children.

Ratodero

In the city of Ratodero, Pakistan, around 900 children were bedridden in early 2019 with fevers that numerous medicines and remedies couldn’t treat. It seemed as though almost every family had a sick child.

In April, the disease was observed then pinpointed, and the results were shocking. Ratodero was the epicenter of an H.I.V outbreak, which impacted hundreds of children.
According to health officials, one pedestrian had been the source of this the outbreak, as he was re-using syringes.

Since then, 1,100 citizens have been tested positive for the virus, which is one in every 200 residents. 900 out of 1,100 are children below 12. However, this isn’t the end result as officials think that the real numbers might be even more, as only a small amount of population has been tested.

Gulbahar Shaikh, a local journalist, first broke the news to the citizens of the city and the entire country in April, as he witnessed relatives and neighbors being hurried to clinics and being tested for the virus.

Muzaffar Ghangro:

When officials observed the outbreak in Ratodero, they found out that a big amount of infected children had visited the same pediatrician, Muzaffar Ghanghro, who was frequently visited by the country’s underprivileged families.

Gulbahar panicked, his children had the same pediatrician. He took his family for tests, and to his surprise, his 2-year-old daughter had the virus, which later causes AIDS.

 “It was devastating,” – said Mr. Shaikh, a 44-year-old television journalist residing in Ratodero. A city that has 200,000 residents, some of which are Pakistan’s poorest, with a low literacy rate.

In the city, Mr. Ghanghro was the least expensive option as he charged 20 cents for a visit to the people who earned barely Rs. 6,000 monthly. The ‘professional’ also treated children of Imtiaz Jalbani, a laborer, four of which contracted H.I.V. His two daughters, Rida, 14 months old, and Sameena, 3 years old have died due to the virus.

Mr. Jalbani got worried the first time when he same the doctor search the trash for a syringe to use on his 6 years old son Ali, who is also infected. After his protests, Mr. Ghanghro told him that he’ll use an old syringe because Mr. Jalbani was too poor to pay for a new one.

Mr. Ghanghro was arrested by the police and charged with negligence, manslaughter and causing unintentional harm. However, he is yet to be convicted.

Now, the health officials are unsure whether Mr. Ghanghro is the only purpose of the outbreak, it could also be because of barbers that use the same razor on faces of numerous customers or dentists that check patients’ teeth with unsterilized tools.

At first, the government showed no reaction to the outbreak in Ratodero, but as the condition worsen, international health workers from other countries came for help and hundreds of testing kits were donated by WHO (World Health Organization).

Testing centers were set up in government buildings, with yellow tents all across the city to help the residents in getting tested.

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