Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar Thursday informed the National Assembly that as many as 8,074 AIDS/HIV cases had been reported in the country during January 2016 to June 2017. During the question-answer session, she said 503 AIDS/HIV cases were reported in the Federal Capital, 3,878 in Punjab, 2,521 in Sindh, 881 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 291 in Balochistan during the period.
The minister said AIDS was such a stigma that patients avoided to disclose, otherwise the number of unregistered affected people was much higher than the reported. However, she said, due to effective strategy of the government in collaboration with private sector non-governmental organizations, a comprehensive campaign had been launched to create awareness about the disease, following which the patients started consulting doctors and reporting for treatment.
Commenting on a supplementary question, Saira termed the Dengue fever a ‘catastrophe,’ which the Punjab and Sindh provinces managed to overcome to great extent with collaborative efforts. She said the federal government had already offered the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to extend all technical and surveillance support to the province to tackle the Dengue disease and stop its larva breeding.
Even, she said, the federal government was ready to arrange foreign assistance for the KPK government to get rid of the Dengue mosquito. The minister said a surveillance team was being formed to stop breaking out of seasonal and other lethal diseases like Dengue fever. Replying to a question, she said after emergence of the surgical stent scam, the Ministry has set up a Drug Regulatory Authority if Pakistan (DRAP) Registry to maintain real time data as every stent carried a number, which would help end supply of sub-standard stents.
Commenting on action against sale of spurious drugs, the minister said DRAP in collaboration with local authorities in different areas of the country conducted 5,000 raids and imposed millions of rupees fine, adding that for the first time, drug courts awarded two major penalties of 15 and 10 years imprisonment to the elements involved in this heinous crime. While, from January 2015 to June 2017, she said, around8,840 premises and shops were sealed on ground of unregistered, illegal, spuprious, counterfeit and other violations of DRAP Act, 2012 and the Drugs Act, 1976.—APP