KARACHI - Sindh Minister for Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho Thursday informed the provincial assembly that 67 children had been diagnosed as having Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Ratodero Larkana.

He said that the disease transmitted due to the negligence of a quack who used same syringe for administering the dosage of solutions to numerous children. The minister said after 15 children diagnosed as having HIV in Ratodero, a special team was sent there which detected more cases. She said that the parents of 67 children, aged from two-month to eight years, had taken them to the quack who used same syringes to administer vaccine to children.

“After the inspection, it has been confirmed that all affected children were treated and transmitted HIV by a single quack,” the minister added.

Dr Azra said that more than 20 clinics and laboratories had been sealed, adding that the crackdown on quacks had been initiated. “The Sindh Healthcare Commission has been directed to take strict action against quacks,” she said. Opposition Leader Firdaus Shamim Naqvi said that timely measures were not taken by the health department, adding that strict action should be taken against the negligent officials.

More than 20 clinics and laboratories have been sealed

On the other hand, Minister for Education Syed Sardar Shah admitted that they failed to control cheating in Matriculation and Intermediate exams due to shortage of funds. Shah was responding to the notice of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Arsalan Taj Hussain who asked, “Will the Honourable Chief Minister, Sindh may please to give answer/statement regarding leak/disclosure of exam papers before exam date during recent Inter Board Exams?” This incident reportedly happened multiple times during current examinations. The culture of using unfair-means in examinations is rampant in the province. How shall this practice be explained by the concerned authorities?”

Replying on behalf of the Chief Minister, the Minister for Education said that all-out measures were adopted to stop the curse of cheating, saying the department had shown more seriousness than ever. “We had a plan to conduct examinations in open grounds instead of inside the schools or colleges. We have approached the finance department as we were short of funds to install cameras, mobile phone jammers and other necessities in open grounds. But as the centre still did not release our share and we are short of resources, we could not implement our plan,” he regretted.

‘Legislation’

The house also sent three government bills- The Sindh Public Finance Administration Bill, 2019. The Abdul Majeed Bhurgri Institute Of Language Engineering Bill, 2019; and The Aror University of Art, Architecture, Design And Heritages, Sukkur, Bill, 2019-to concerned standing committees for further deliberation.

Health Dept carrying out blood

screening tests in Larkana: Wahab

Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information, Law and Anti-Corruption Barrister Murtaza Wahab said that Health Department had made arrangements for blood screening test of HIV patients in Larkna. He added that health department’s teams were working on the blood screening test in Larkana and its surrounding areas including Ratodero.

He said that persons who were responsible for spreading HIV would be made examples for others, and adding that suspected doctor had also been arrested and investigation was underway. “After the investigation report, more facts will be revealed,” he said. The provincial advisor said that the suspected doctor used same syringe for administering vaccine to children due to which HIV transmitted to others.

Wahab said that due to this condemnable act many people were affected in the surrounding areas too. Barrister Murtaza Wahab was of view that this act was against the norms of medical profession, and adding that such people should be awarded exemplary punishment. He said that the teams of Health Department providing medicine, laboratory test facility, vaccination and immunization free of cost to the affected people. He added that it was need of hour to spread awareness regarding health issues. “Educated and well versed people and local committees should play their role in this regard as it is our collective responsibility,” he stressed.