It's completely insane that a doctor, of all people, would reuse syringes on different patients in this day and age. But unfortunately, it has happened. And now, around 900 children have tested positive for HIV.
The fraudulent pediatrician reused infected syringes. The number of adults also looped into this nightmare stands at 200.
The Scariest Thing Is That The Numbers Could Be Much Higher
These figures only take into account what has been confirmed.
When the HIV outbreak happened in Pakistan, Dr. Muzaffar Ghanghro was initially the only one blamed for the problem.
Being the cheapest pediatrician in the small Pakistani city, it was conceivable he would probably reuse syringes to keep his prices down. And it turned out to be true.
In fact, the authorities took him in and charged him with negligence and manslaughter when patients accused him of the crimes.
The father of one of the kids infected with HIV told of how the doctor rummaged through his bin in search of a needle he could use on his son. The kid ended up with HIV.
In his response, the doctor claimed that the father was too poor to pay for a new needle.
The poor parent has four children now suffering from the deadly viral infection, and two of them have already passed away.
Another Parent Said The Doctor Used One Drip On 50 Children Without Changing The Needle
So, it was clear that the doctor was the reason for the devastating outbreak.
Unfortunately, although the doctor clearly played a big part in fanning the epidemic, he is not the only person who should be held accountable.
Apparently, within the city, doctors often reuse syringes, and dentists work with unsterilized tools while barbers have been known to use the same razor on different clients.
The outbreak was first noticed by Imran Akbar Arbani, who went on to issue the following warning:
"Unless these quack doctors, barbers, and dentists are checked, the number of incidents of HIV infection will continue to go up."
The problem is compounded by the fact that many locals have no adequate knowledge of the risks they expose themselves to by getting these substandard services.
In fact, some strongly believe that the only way to get an HIV infection is by touching someone who is already infected. Based on this belief, many children have been shunned by their peers, and relatives have been known to do the same.
So, unless there are changes to such perceptions, the situation might keep getting worse.
Ever Since 2010, There Has Been A Doubling Of HIV Cases In Pakistan
There are also about 600,000 unqualified doctors who offer their services illegally and cut corners in ways that lead to new infections.
About half, or 270,000 of these doctors, are in Ratodero, where the serious outbreak was reported.
Once the government was made aware of the problem, it shut down all clinics with unregistered doctors. All the illegal blood banks were closed as well.
Unfortunately, Once Things Calmed Down, Many Of These Clinics Reopened
In other words, it was business as usual for these quacks. Therefore, the risks are still there, since such doctors are likely to revert to their old habits of reusing syringes.
This, indeed, is quite sad.
More seriousness is necessary to deal with the problem effectively. Otherwise, innocent kids and adults will keep losing their lives needlessly through easily avoidable HIV infections caused by quack doctors, dentists, and barbers.