This Article is From Jul 12, 2010

Jodhpur hospital continues to spread HIV among children

Jodhpur: In a medical case that broadcasts lack of will and the most severe sort of negligence, another three children in Jodhpur have tested positive for HIV because they were given infected blood.

The government-run Umaid Hospital in the city provides blood at no cost for children who are thalassemic and require frequent and regular blood transfusions.

In December, NDTV reported on the fact that five children tested positive for HIV because of transfusions from this hospital. The Marwar Thalassemic Society conducted tests on young patients and found that in the last six months, eight children have tested positive for HIV and another 43 have contracted Hepatitis C.

So a hospital that's meant to help poor families is inflicting the severest diseases upon young children.

The Umaid Hospital authorities claim that in all matters related to blood tests, they have been following guidelines of the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). However, the major lapse, they admit, lies in the fact that they do not have the ability to conduct a Nucleic Acid Test (NAT). This test can detect an HIV or hepatitis infection in the blood within three days of it being contracted - unfortunately not a single government hospital in Rajasthan has this facility, mainly because the machine required costs Rs 3 crore; the infrastructure for the machine and tests cost another Rs 30 lakh.

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Without this test, doctors say, it can take upto 3 months for an HIV or hepatitis infection to show in a blood sample.

Confronted with unforgivable evidence, medical authorities across different agencies scrambled to offer some sort of defence.

"We will screen the blood of these children and try and figure out how they contracted this infection," says Dr R K Asaari, the Principal of the SN Medical Collge which is the parent body of Umaid Hospital.