‘My daughter may not live, we should save others’

Posted: Mon Sep 12 2011, 01:57 hrs

Junagadh, Ahmedabad:

It’s been just over a month since his four-year-old thalassemic daughter tested HIV-positive. A month during which Salim Sheikh, 33, found out that 23 of the 103 thalassemic children registered with the Junagadh Civil Hospital have tested HIV-positive since January this year.

“My daughter may not survive now, but we should save other children,” said Sheikh, a tea-stall owner.

Gujarat Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas has maintained that the children could have received blood from multiple sources. But the parents of the affected children — all in the age group of 1 to 12 years — have said they only got the blood transfusions from Junagadh Civil Hospital.

“When we went for transfusion on August 9, the doctors asked us to get the HIV test done. The result was positive. The doctors, blood bank staff and hospital superintendent said ‘it has happened, what can be done?’,” said Sheikh, who sold his motorcycle and television to pay for his daughter’s monthly blood transfusions and medicines.

Sheikh, who is a regular blood donor and has never tested HIV-positive, then approached Salim Gujarati, president of NGO Madhu Social Group. “Documents revealed that at least 23 children have tested positive since January,” said Gujarati.

“Doctors told us that thalassemic children live to the age of 12-14 years. Even before we could prepare for this, we came to know that she is HIV-positive too,” said Sheikh’s wife Rehana.

Source : Indian Express

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