At least 900 children and 200 adults in Pakistani have been confirmed to be infected with the deadly HIV virus after a rogue paediatrician allegedly reused infected syringes.
Health personal hinted that the number of victims could rise after only a quarter of the population in Ratodero City were tested. There are around 200,000 residents in the city. A paediatrician named Muzaffar Ghanghro is alleged to be behind the epidemic that was confirmed in April, 2019.
He was arrested in May after some of his patients told sleuths about him frequently reusing syringes that led to the infection of more than 1000 people with the deadly virus. Dr Muzaffar was arraigned in court but denied negligence and manslaughter charges. One of the victim’s parents disclosed to New York Times that Dr. Muzaffar picked a syringe from a bin to use on his six-year-old son.
When the parent protested, he was termed as poor to pay for a new needle. Four of his children have since tested positive and two younger ones died. Another fraction of parents told Reuters that the doctor used a single drip on fifty children without changing the needle. Despite all the damning accusations levelled against him, Dr. Muzaffar maintains he is innocent.
However, a probe into the matter concluded that Dr. Muzaffar was liable for the outbreak but health officials now think there are other factors that contributed to the epidemic. Albeit too late, the Pakistani government responded by shutting down substandard clinics and illegal blood banks. According to the Independent, over 600, 000 unqualified doctor are operating in the country unlawfully with Sindh province in which the affected city is found housing majority of them.
The doctor who first identified the outbreak told New York Times that HIV prevalence will remain high if the authority won’t crack down unqualified doctors. “Unless these quack doctors, barbers and dentists are not checked, the number of incidents of HIV infection will continue going up,” said Imran Akbar.