World Health Organization team arrives in Karachi to help mitigate HIV outbreak

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A team of experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has arrived in Karachi to support the health authorities in their response to an outbreak of HIV in Larkana at the request of the health ministry. The team, which was received by Health DG Dr Masood Solangi, will visit Rato Dero, where the outbreak had surfaced.

Wednesday's incident took place in the town of Sikarpur, 75 kilometres (45 miles) northeast of Larkana district, which has been struck by an HIV epidemic.

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Sindh health minister Dr Azra Pechuho, the health secretary and other officials will accompany the WHO team. It was expanded on May 8, with additional health workers being deployed.

He spoke about the recent outbreak of HIV in Larkana and the case of Dr Muzaffar Ghangro who was found guilty of medical negligence. A majority of them are children and young people: more than half of those affected are children under the age of 5.

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"There are still several questions which are required to be answered so that preventive measures could be adopted to prevent such outbreaks any other place in Pakistan, in the region and rest of the world", said one of the members of an global rapid response team that has arrived in Karachi to investigate the Ratodero's HIV outbreak before leaving to Larkana from Karachi.

The WHO spokesperson said that key tasks for the WHO-led team would include ascertaining the source of the outbreak and controlling it; providing technical expertise, particularly in the areas of HIV testing, paediatric HIV treatment and family counseling; and ensuring adequate supplies of rapid diagnostic tests and antiretroviral medicines for both adults and children, as well as single-use needles and syringes.

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