World Health Organization to investigate HIV outbreak in Sindh

Pakistan Seeks Help From WHO To Probe HIV Outbreak Report

WHO to investigate HIV outbreak in Sindh

The team, which was received by Health DG Dr Masood Solangi, will visit Rato Dero, where the outbreak had surfaced.

Wednesday's incident took place in the town of Sikarpur, 75 kilometres (45 miles) northeast of Larkana district, which has been struck by an HIV epidemic.

"The so far investigation by the local health authorities are only based on hypothesis and assumptions that over 580 children out of 712 people tested positive for HIV in small area, contracted the HIV infection through injections".

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Sindh health minister Dr Azra Pechuho, the health secretary and other officials will accompany the WHO team.

Earlier during the meeting, Sindh Health Minister Dr. Azra Pechuho briefed the global team and other participants of the steps taken by the provincial government in curtailing the outbreak and told that after it was pointed that reuse of injections of injections could be the most probable cause of spread of HIV in Ratodero, a province wide crackdown against quacks was launched and so far hundreds of healthcare establishments run by the quacks had been sealed by the provincial authorizes.

A recent report shared by the Sindh health ministry said a total of 707 persons had been diagnosed with HIV in Ratodero after screening of 24,227 people there.

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She said provincial authorities were facing difficulties in screening such a large population of the Ratodero and adjoining areas and sought federal government and worldwide health agencies support in arranging testing kits for HIV as well as arranging Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) medicines for children who had been tested positive for the HIV in Larkana.

The WHO spokesperson said that key tasks for the WHO-led team would include ascertaining the source of the outbreak and controlling it; providing technical expertise, particularly in the areas of HIV testing, paediatric HIV treatment and family counseling; and ensuring adequate supplies of rapid diagnostic tests and antiretroviral medicines for both adults and children, as well as single-use needles and syringes.

Officials said it was the first visit of its kind by an inspection team of the World Health Organization to investigate HIV incidence in the region.

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