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August 20, 2019

Poor state of govt hospitals led to spread of HIV, admits Dr Azra

Karachi

August 20, 2019

The provincial assembly was informed on Monday that government-run hospitals across Sindh, like elsewhere in the country, are yet to overcome the grave situation of poor infection prevention and control measures at their premises, owing to which people under treatment there catch infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis.

Speaking during the question hour of the PA sitting, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho admitted that a lot needs to be done to make the situation of infection prevention and control satisfactory at public health facilities.

“I admit that at times a person is admitted to a government hospital for treatment of one infectious disease and catches three other infections by the time they are discharged,” said Dr Azra. “A lot of aseptic measures are required to be taken by the hospitals.”

She said that the situation of poor infection control measures is not confined to government-run health institutions of Sindh, but other provinces also face a similar situation, where outbreak of infectious diseases take place from time to time, including HIV.

The minister said that the highly unsatisfactory situation of poor infection control measures at public health facilities has also been pointed out as one of the root causes behind the recent outbreak of HIV cases in Ratodero.

She said that the provincial health department will initiate special training sessions in infection control and prevention measures for health practitioners at government-run hospitals of Sindh.

She informed the House that the relevant authorities have launched a crackdown on the recycling of hospital waste being generated in Larkana at a cottage-like industry there in order to ensure that it does not lead to the spread of infectious diseases.

Dr Azra said that plastic waste being generated by the hospitals of Larkana is being prevented from being disposed of publicly in an unsafe manner since the outbreak of HIV there. She said the Sindh Health Care Commission is being involved in instilling good infection control measures at all government-run health treatment centres across the province.

The minister said the health department has initiated the process of outsourcing hospital waste management of public health facilities, adding that the case is being taken to the Public-Private Partnership Policy Board of the province.

She said that only tertiary-care hospitals in Sindh have the facility of incinerators to properly manage the waste being produced by them. She added that the outsourcing of hospital waste management will initially be done only for the cities of Karachi and Larkana.

She informed the PA that so far around 30,000 people have been screened for HIV and that 1,002 of them have tested positive. She said that 810 of the HIV-positive cases are children. Dr Azra said that 53 per cent of the 192 adults are men and 47 per cent women. She said the provincial government has allocated Rs 27 million in the new budget for procuring around 100,000 HIV testing kits.

Speaker congratulated

The House unanimously adopted a motion to congratulate PA Speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani as being the longest-serving speaker of the provincial legislature since the creation of Pakistan.

The motion was unanimously moved by the treasury and opposition benches, with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla representing the treasury and Grand Democratic Alliance MPA Arif Mustafa Jatoi representing the opposition.

Durrani told the legislature that it is a major achievement for him to be congratulated by the entire House for serving as its custodian for the longest term. He said that being given the chance to serve the Sindh Assembly as its custodian for the longest term shows the continuity of democratic and parliamentary traditions and norms in the province.

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