Half a dozen of babies born with HIV/AIDS every month
KATHMANDU, Sept 14: Hasima Khatoon (name changed), of Gamhariya, Mahottari, is expecting her third child, but it cannot bring her happiness as her baby will be born with HIV. She alleges that this was due to the misguidance and irresponsibility of a doctor she had been seeing for medical check-up.
Khatoon, 32, said she went a clinic run by gynecologist Dr Sonia Sing in Janakpur five months ago for antenatal check up.
There Khatoon was told that she was HIV positive following blood screening. She further said that Dr Sing failed to suggest antiretroviral drugs.
Health workers say if the woman infected with HIV is provided antiretroviral treatment during pregnancy, the risk of transmitting the disease to newborn will be reduced by as much as 98 percent.
But Dr Singh did not apply any preventive measures nor did she tell her about HIV medication that is available in Prevention of Mother to Child (PMTCT) centers, Khatoon alleged.
“Instead of telling me about HIV treatment she threatened me that no one will see me if I go to government hospital,” Khatoon complained. Dr Sing asked her to rush to Katmandu immediately for delivery some days ago as she was going to have the baby within three days.
Khatoon only came to know about the medication of prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) after she arrived in Kathmandu. Doctors at Maternity Hospital also told her that she will have the baby only after a month.
Now she, along with five of her relative who accompanied her to Kathmandu, are angered by the misguided suggestions of the doctor in Janakpur. On Wednesday Khatoon along with her parents went to Sukraraj Tropical and Disease Control Hospital for viral load test.
She said that her two other sons were not infected by HIV and her husband was in Qatar as part of his employment for last five years. He returned from Qatar seven months ago and gone back to work in the Gulf state.
“The doctor told me about the infection when I visited her five months ago, but she did not say anything about me having to take HIV medication," she added.
She had also informed her husband about the the infection but he had not yet returned home.
Khatoon´s case is just one of many. A report of National Center for HIV /AIDS and STD Control (NCASC) shows that each month more than half a dozen children are born with HIV infection, and negligence of the doctor is one of the major reasons.
There are 39 antiretroviral clinics across the country and if a woman infected with HIV is provided antiretroviral medication chances of having the infection passed on to the new born will be reduced up to 98 percent, the doctors said.
The government as well as donor agencies have given top priority to HIV prevention and made huge investment in PMTCT and HIV intervention program. However, the reach of such program to target population is very low.