Associated Press - February 03, 2012
Health officials in Kyrgyzstan say they have diagnosed 70 new
cases of HIV among children during a widespread check following a
scandal over transmission of the virus in hospitals.
The Health Ministry said in a statement late Thursday that more
than 110,000 children born between 2004 and 2009 in the Osh and
Jalal-Abad provinces have been screened since last year.
More than a dozen hospital workers were charged with negligence
leading to the transmission of the HIV virus to almost 200
children in that southern region over the six-year period. Six
have been convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.
The health care system in this economically struggling former
Soviet nation is desperately underfunded, staff is poorly trained
and basic medical supplies are scarce.
"The children with a confirmed diagnosis receive additional
treatment. They are under constant medical control and are
getting the required antiretroviral drugs," said Zhyldyz
Kurmanaliyeva, director general of the government's National AIDS
Almost two-fifths of the children in Osh, the country's
second-largest city, and the surrounding region have yet to be
screened, which raises the prospect of the numbers of diagnosed
HIV carriers growing further.
In December, UNICEF warned against rushing to punish individual
health workers for the HIV outbreak.
"It may not be a failure of a particular doctor or nurse, but
rather a failure of the health care system as a whole to provide
hospitals with the essential equipment required to prevent
transmission of HIV infection," UNICEF said in a statement.
UNICEF also noted that an assessment by international
organizations -- including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control,
the World Bank and John Snow International -- revealed no
evidence that health care workers had intentionally infected