South Korea becomes first country to support WHO fight HIV outbreak in Sindh

A two-year-old HIV-positive girl, who is under treatment, goes through a routine medical check-up at a clinic in Ratodero, Pakistan May 24, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 21 July 2019

South Korea becomes first country to support WHO fight HIV outbreak in Sindh

  • Despite Seoul’s decision to contribute $100,000, UN health agency continues to face a significant funding gap
  • Around 935 people, including 760 children, have been reported infected by the virus since April

ISLAMABAD: South Korea will extend humanitarian assistance worth $100,000 in cash to help control the outbreak of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, the World Health Organization, which will channel the funds to the South Asian nation, said on Friday.
Spread mainly in the Larkana district of Sindh, HIV had infected 935 people in total as of July 13, including 760 children under the age of 15.
WHO Representative in Pakistan, Dr. Palitha Mahipala, met South Korean Ambassador Kwak Sung-kyu in Islamabad earlier this month, and sought his support to deal with the HIV outbreak. Korean authorities in Seoul responded positively and said they would help the WHO fight the spread of the virus.
According to a media statement, WHO will continue to face a huge funding gap despite South Korea’s commitment since its project requires $4.5 million for the next two years to deal with the epidemic.
“I expect that other governments and international NGOs will join South Korea in supporting WHO’s efforts in responding to the HIV outbreak in Pakistan,” Ambassador Kwak was reported to have said.
“WHO highly appreciates the valuable support made by the government of the Republic of Korea enabling WHO to scale up its response to the HIV affected population in Larkana district,” Palitha said during her meeting with the South Korean ambassador.
The spread of HIV in Ratodero, on the outskirts of Larkana, was first detected by medical practitioners in April this year. Since then, health authorities have screened thousands of people to determine the scale of the problem.
In rural Sindh — long bridled by harsh poverty and illiteracy — access to information about HIV and other diseases has kept the large swathes of the population in the dark about how the virus is transmitted. Healthcare facilities in the province are meagre and negligence by inadequately-qualified doctors is common.
At the heart of the current crisis is one paediatrician, Dr. Muzaffar Ghangharo, who used contaminated syringes while treating his patients in Ratodero, police officials have said. Dr. Muzaffar Ghanghro was arrested on April 30 and has been charged with unintentional murder.
Senior Sindh police officer Sartaj Jagirani told Arab News last month that 123 infected children, whose family members had recorded their statements with police, had been treated by Ghangharo.


Pakistani FM, Saudi envoy discuss regional issues

Updated 28 November 2019

Pakistani FM, Saudi envoy discuss regional issues

  • Ambassador Nawaf discussed bilateral ties with FM Qureshi
  • Earlier this week, Prince Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud visited Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Saeed Al Malki met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss regional issues of mutual interest, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy good relations and have established long-term programs of strategic cooperation over the past few decades.

Earlier this week, Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud visited Islamabad and met with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Saudi prince’s visit was related to his charity projects in Pakistan, for which the prime minister expressed his appreciation, underscoring the uniqueness of Pakistani-Saudi ties, the PM’s office said in a statement after the meeting on Tuesday.