RATODERO    -     As many as 33 new HIV positive people, including 28 children, were detected after blood screening of about 1,600 general population people here on Tuesday.

So far, the number of HIV positive cases has climbed to 478. Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho finally visited the medical camp established at Taluka Hospital here 20 days after the outbreak of HIV positive cases in media.

Most of the affected are children whose parents are negative.

The health minister inaugurated children ward established by IHS in the THQ. She said on the occasion that a local doctor used same syringe frequently on various patients due to which HIV virus had spread.

She said JIT formed by police and a team of medical experts were probing the matter genetically and individually to find out the root causes of the dreaded virus. She claimed that treatment of affected persons had been started at Larkana.

Many HIV positive patients have been detected in Ratodero; hence, a Treatment & Care Center will also be established here as well for them very soon.

Meanwhile, Judicial Magistrate-II, Ratodero, sent arrested doctor Muzafar Ghangro to jail after expiry of his police remand. He is suspected of spreading the deadly virus as many of the affected children’s patients had claimed that he used same syringe in many children due to which their kids were infected.

Earlier, in Larkana, Provincial Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho warned media persons not to disclose identity of affected HIV positive cases or else notices will be issued against them.

This she said while addressing a press conference at Commissioner’s office here on Tuesday after presiding over a high level meeting in connection with the outbreak of dreaded viral HIV disease in Ratodero, constituency of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and her sister Faryal Talpur.

Most of the affected cases are of children. She said after the surfacing of so many cases, a team consisting of experts from Aga Khan University Hospital, Dow University and others was constituted which still was probing to find out the root causes of the spread of HIV and from where it started.

She said they had established some medical camps to find out how many people had been affected, adding due to rush of the general population, doctors and staff posted at these camps faced troubles.

She said: “We have decided to establish more medical camps at villages Saidu Dero, Pir Bux Bhutto, Lashari, Naundero and Garhi Khuda Bux Bhutto where people would come and get themselves tested.”

The minister said over 11,000 people had so far been screened out of which a large number had been detected HIV positive. She said treatment of affected people would be provided in smooth manner which was our responsibility.

She said publishing photos, names and addresses of positive cases was unethical by print & electronic media because law does not permit for the same. She warned that if such things appeared again then stern action will be taken and notices will be sent to the relevant organization.

She further said that so far 400 clinics of quacks, laboratories and illegal blood banks in Larkana, Kambar-Shahdadkot and other districts have been sealed. She said complaints have also been received from Larkana that some elements are selling used syringes after repacking them.

She said she has instructed all government hospitals to make the used syringes completely unable for reuse and procured disposable syringes be checked before use. She said that awareness is must because this viral disease will remain with the patient till his/her life. She said some UN donors are with us and in next Sindh budget some amount will be reserved for HIV/AIDS patients.

She confessed that the condition of largest Teaching Hospital of rural Sindh, Chandka Medical College Hospital, is highly worrisome adding she will recommend to the government to keep maximum funds for this hospital so that it could be run on scientific lines. She said all stakeholders must take efforts to eliminate HIV from Larkana because it is national cause. She asked health officials to procure more HIV testing kits for which if budget is needed they should prepare a summary, send her which will be got approved from the Sindh Chief Minister, she added. She said screening process should made fast.

Provincial Program Manager, Sindh AIDS Control Program, Dr Sikandar Memon, said in his briefing that so far 11068 tests have been conducted out of which 445 have been tested HIV positive up to Monday. Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, WHO representative, District Health Officer and other health officials were also present on the occasion.