LARKANA - As many as 958 HIV/AIDS positive patients have so far been registered at HIV/AIDS Treatment & Care Centre, Chandka Medical College Hospital, Larkana, out of which 779 are males, 163 females and 16 children.

At leats 83 HIV/AIDS patients have died so far, out of them 73 are males, 8 females and 2 children.

Larkana district tops the list as the number its patients are 529, 148 patients belong to Kambar-Shahdadkot, 72 to Dadu, 37 Sukkur, 11 belong to Kashmore, 9 to Ghotki, 20 Shikarpur, 7 Jamshoro, 10 Jaffarabad, 18, Jacobabad, 6 Kalat (Blochistan), 79 Mirpur Khas, 11 Naushehro Feroze and 1 to Karachi. In 2007, there were only 8 HIV/AIDS patients and then the number continued to rise as in 2008 as many as 21 new cases surfaced, 20 came out in 2009, 23 in 2010, 56 in 2011, 123 in 2012, 195 in 2013, 290 in 2014, 222 in 2015 up to August 23.

Likewise, one patient died in 2007, 4 in 2008, 5 in 2009, two in 2010, 8 in 2011, 20 in 2012, 24 in 2013, 15 in 2014 and 14 in 2015. Out of these as many as 79 patients are suffering from Hepatitis C out of which 77 are males and two are females.

At least 29 patients are also suffering from Hepatitis B out of which 26 are males and three females.

Dr. Hola Ram, Incharge, HIV/AIDS Treatment & Care Centre, said that viral load test facility has not yet been provided to the centre due to which many patients default which is dangerous as this test is must for every patient and should be carried out at least once a year according to the WHO rules. He said that poor patients could not afford travelling costs even though this facility is being provided free of cost to patients at Civil Hospital and Indus Hospital, Karachi. He said that Larkana has the second largest number of positive patients in Sindh but it has been ignored which is beyond imagination.

Dr. Ram further said that no proper staff has so far been provided which must also be ensured for the betterment of the positive patients as the number continues to rise every day. He said that viral load test is necessary to assess the benefits of the treatment; otherwise drugs are changed. The affected people have also demanded that viral load testing facility should be provided at Larkana to save them from extra burden along with required staff and running cost without loss of further time and if the government could not provide this essential facility this centre be closed down. On the other hand, administrative affairs of the College of Nursing and Schools of Nursing of Health Department, Government of Sindh have been affected due to mismanagement and inefficiency of senior officers.

An official of Directorate of Nursing Sindh on condition of anonymity said mismanagement in College of Nursing and Schools of Nursing is on the peak in the province. This is why administrative affairs of these institutions have been badly affected across the province. He said there are 31 government-run nursing institutions across the province out of which 25 are for females and 6 are male nurses. He said majority of these institutions are being run without proper faculty and principals.

He said that currently only three institutions including School of Nursing Korangi (male), Ayaz Samoon Nursing Training Institute Lyari Town (female) and School of Nursing Jacobabad (male) have their proper principal while the rest of male and female nursing institutions are being run by Vice-Principals, OPS officials and senior nurses.

The official said that School of Nursing Lyari (male), School of Nursing (female) Civil Hospital Karachi, School of Nursing (male) Liaquatabad, School of Nursing (female) Qatar Hospital Orangi, School of Nursing (female) Nawabshah and School of Nursing Mirpurkhas have no principals.

Sindh Health Secretary Saeed Ahmed Mangnejo, when connected, said a meeting for promotion of nursing cadre in next grade is scheduled on October 13 and principals will be deployed in vacant posts across the province after these promotions.

He said that no OPS official is working as a principal of any nursing institution in the province.