Uzbekistan: Prosecutor office starts legal proceedings against local doctors for HIV transmission due to negligence


Uzbekistan: Doctors infected over 40 children with HIV?..

November 11, 2008
Source: Ferghana

In the hospital of Namangan region, 43 children have reportedly contracted HIV due to negligence of local doctors. And a special group comprising representatives of the police, Prosecutor General’s office, and Health Ministry of Uzbekistan started investigation of the incident.

According to the Health Ministry official, who wished to stay anonymous, the children including newborns were infected through syringes previously used for treatment of HIV-infected patients. “It also might be the case that the deadly virus was transmitted through inoculations and injected medicine.”

“The Prosecutor General’s office started with legal proceedings on this case. But I do not know how the Criminal Code will define the crime. It is most likely be ‘negligence,’” said an Uzbek doctor.

Anonymous sources from the Prosecutor General’s office and doctors of the city of Namangan confirmed this incident. Official media outlets, however, keep silence on this matter.

“Broken-hearted mothers cry ceaselessly. This is not their fault as well as their poor children’s,” the Namangan residents say.

Apart from investigating the case, the special group from Tashkent by all means tries to isolate the children’s parents and relatives from public, especially from journalists, according to the locals. “Es-en-beshniki (colloquially used for National Security Service officers), especially those who came from Tashkent, seem to come [to Namangan] with one purpose: to hush up the scandal. They are at pains not to let this information reach both local and international media,” the residents say.

Although hundreds of conferences, seminars, and competitions on this topic are in held in Uzbekistan, it is a taboo for the local journalists to publicize the statistics on HIV/AIDS, let alone to write on this topic. On the World AIDS Day in December the Uzbek Health Ministry annually publishes official statistics of the HIV-infected. But their figures, as experts say, are considerably decreased to hide real, painful numbers.

The Information Agency editorial board makes a request to the Uzbek government to provide the public with full information on the incident in Namangan in order to preclude further rumors, conjectures on it spreading in the country.