23 january 2019

Central Asia news

Kyrgyzstan: Nine Medics Found Guilty for Infecting Children with HIV

07.08.2008 20:13 msk

Svetlana Gafarova

Analytics Kyrgyzstan

A court sentenced nine medics to jail for infecting 24 children with HIV through negligence and ordered to pay compensation to victim’s families.

Convicted doctors and nurses, all from the same hospital in south Kyrgyzstan, will serve between three to five years in prison. Four other medics were acquitted during the trial and one more exculpated.

72 children have been infected in the southern Osh region since last year, four of them under two years old died.

Mass infection with HIV that causes AIDS was revealed accidentally when parents of a child who was unsuccessfully treated in provincial Nookat hospital and regional Osh clinic in south Kyrgyzstan addressed specialists in the capital for help.

After the child was tested HIV-positive doctors decided to check other children who received medical treatment in the same hospital. The first investigation found eight HIV cases in children between 12 to 18 months, which shocked the entire republic and raised concerns over safety in hospitals and doctors’ competence.

The second round of health examination in Nookat province found HIV in 41 children, four mothers, one doctor and one nurse who was involved in blood transfusion.

A special commission of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health could not immediately identify the source of mass infection. Initially it was thought that children got HIV though blood transfusion or from their mothers. Poor hygiene and lack of sterilizing equipment was also considered as one of the causes.

However, it turned out that medics were using disposable syringes and equipment repeatedly causing massive spread of the infection.

Medical salaries in the impoverished Central Asian nation are among the lowest. Some of the doctors were reportedly making money by selling used syringes.

According to the latest data, the spread of HIV infection and the number of patients with AIDS is the highest in southern Osh region. The plague is affecting increasing number of children and people outside of the risk groups, such as prostitutions and drug addicts. It means the disease is spreading fast among general population.