Shillong, July 9: In a case of discrimination, two major hospitals in Shillong — Shillong Civil Hospital and North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) — have allegedly denied treatment to HIV-positive patients.
The incident came to light when the Meghalaya State Network for Positive People (MSNP) claimed that two women with HIV were denied treatment in the two government hospitals, reported the Shillong Times.
MSNP general secretary Barry Leslie Kharmalki told media that one of the women who required surgery was told to bring down her viral load or amount of HIV in her blood sample below 50, even though the WHO says that a standard of below 1,000 is considered normal for surgery.
“I am not very sure what the relation between the viral load test and cyst operation is. Her viral load is around 516 and in the prescription, the doctor asked her to bring it down to 50,” he told Shillong Times.
Barry Leslie Kharmalki said that he had raised the issue during the consultation meeting on HIV Act, 2017 and asked to submit a written complaint by Additional Chief Secretary, PW Ingty, but in vain. Even the Meghalaya AIDS Control Society has not done anything to address this issue, he said.
Kharmalki said the Shillong Civil Hospital has denied treatment to at least 13 HIV-positive people, by giving vague reasons.
He also alleged that the head of the gynaecology department of NEIGRIHMS also rejects patients with HIV.
The patient with the cyst problem was diagnosed in one of the private hospitals. She was referred to NEIGRHIMS since the treatment was too expensive. On reaching NEIGRHIMS, when she revealed that she had HIV, the doctors insulted her, Kharmalki alleged.
In another case, a patient who required surgery for gallstones, was denied first by Civil Hospital, Shillong and then by NEIGRHIMS three months back.
He also urged NGOs to play a pro-active role in bringing about a change of attitude towards patients with HIV.
According to the news daily, the state health minister, AL Hek, refused to comment on the matter, stating that such things have not come to his notice. He added that there has been no formal complaint. (Courtesy: India Today)