10 AIDS deaths in two months in Kasargod

10 AIDS deaths in two months in Kasargod

10 AIDS deaths in two months in Kasargod

 As many as 10 patients suffering from AIDS have died in Kasargod district of Kerala owing to lack of treatment facilities.

The patients from Manjeshwar, Dharmathadka, Bandyodu, Kasargod, Vellarikundu and Neeleshwar were dependant on the Antiretroviral Therapy Centre (ART) at Kasargod, which lacked specialist doctors to treat the disease.

But for the apathy of the government in appointing specialist doctors, these patients might have been saved.

Out of the 10 AIDS deaths reported, eight patients were registered at the Kasargod ART Centre and died in July and August. The remaining two were registered at the Kasargod District Network of People Living With HIV and AIDS (KNDP).

There were no doctors at the ART Centre for the last four months. Normally, the patients visit the Centre once a week, undergo tests and the specialist doctors prescribe nutritious food besides the medicines. Sans treatment and nutritious diet, the condition of the patients had started deteriorating.

The supply of nutritious food to strengthen the immune system of the patients had also been stopped for the last five months. There are 970 HIV affected persons registered with the ART Centre in Kasargod. Out of them, nearly half the patients regularly visit the centre every week and avail treatment. The services of a specialist doctor at the Centre was suspended in the month of May by the health department.

In addition to the absence of a specialist doctor, the CD-4 count test facility is also absent at the Kasargod centre.  Those patients whose CD count is less than 350 have to undergo specialised treatment.

However, the CD-4 count machine purchased two years ago at a cost of Rs 10 lakh has been lying idle for want of trained staff. The patients from Kasargod have to go to Wenlock Hospital in Mangalore for testing the CD count.

Thereafter, once the CD-4 count is less than 350, such patients are sent to ART Centre of Thrissur Medical College Hospital, some six hours’ journey by train from Kasargod, for further treatment.

This apart, expert opinion is also needed to avail the viral load test at the Centre of Excellence at Tambaram in Chennai. The sum total of all these deficiencies is that patients lives are put on the line.