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WHO declares Larkana HIV outbreak a grade 2 emergency

June 8, 2019
 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the HIV outbreak in Larkana a grade 2 emergency and said there is an urgent need for anti-retroviral medicines. 

A Grade 2 Emergency is a single or multiple country event with moderate public health consequences that requires a moderate WCO response and/or moderate international WHO response.

In a June 3 situation report, the WHO noted that 26,041 people have been screened for HIV in Ratodero and 751 (2.9%) tested positive, of which there were 604 children and 135 adults. The age of 12 patients was unknown.

Related: No respite for Larkana’s HIV patients, their families on Eid

Of these 751 patients, 531 were linked to an anti-retroviral treatment centre and 324 are receiving treatment.

The WHO noted an urgent need for anti-retroviral medicines, rapid HIV diagnostic kits, medicine for treatment of co-infections, training of health workers and strengthening of infection prevention and control at health facilities.

The report said $1.5 million is needed but only $200,000 is available through the Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

Related: Larkana’s uneasy history with HIV

It also noted that there is not enough anti-retroviral medicine in Pakistan and the current stock is only enough to treat 240 kids till July 15.

It listed the possible causes of the HIV outbreak as unsafe blood transfusion practices, re-use of injection needles and syringes, mother to child transmission, improper disposal and reuse of hospital waste, tattooing using unsafe needles, circumcision in males using unsafe blades and ear and nose piercing using unsafe needles.

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