Fake Doctor Suspected of Infecting Dozens of Patients With HIV

Up to 38 patients have been confirmed to be HIV carriers due to medical malpractice in Bangarmau, a town halfway between the Taj Mahal and Lucknow, capital of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, northern India. Police arrested Rajesh Yadav, alias Rajendra, who owns an unlicensed clinic on Wednesday, and who admitted reusing the same syringe with different patients to lower costs.

The wave of people affected was known on Tuesday, months after the infected, including children, had passed the medical examination of an NGO in November last year. So far, about five hundred patients have been examined. But it is expected that the number of affected will grow; and many of the 5,000 inhabitants of a nearby slum, mostly without resources, were regular patients of the healer. With 2.1 million carriers, India is the third country in the world with the highest number of people with HIV.

The neighbors knew Yadav as Dus wala doctor (doctor 10, in Hindi) for the 10 rupees – less than one euro – that he charged for the treatments. The local councilor, Izhar Khan, attributes what happened to “widespread illiteracy”, while patients complain that there are no medicines in the public health services, where they say they are not treated.

India lacks the personnel and infrastructures necessary to service its more than 1,300 million inhabitants. Last week, the government announced a plan to extend health care to 500 million citizens, which would lead to the world’s largest public health system. But the executive has not detailed how he will approach the ambitious project.

According to current data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India, there is only one doctor for every 1,596 people. The situation is worse in the region where negligence has been discovered. Uttar Pradesh a state with the largest number of inhabitants of overpopulated India and the most densely populated subdivision of the world- has a 35% deficit in primary care centers. Worse still, the 2016 Rural Health Statistics indicate that the shortcomings of specialists, laboratory technicians and radiologists in this region exceed 75% of per capita needs.

Last summer, more than 60 babies died in a public hospital in Gorakhpur, a neighbor of the locality affected by the infectious outbreak. Then, the deaths were attributed to the fact that the officials did not pay the company in charge of providing the center with the oxygen necessary for the intensive care sauce.

On this occasion, national media reported that employees of the district health department knew about the practices of Dr. 10 since July of last year. The health minister of the State of Uttar Pradesh, Sidhart Nath Singh, has ordered an investigation into the matter and promises that actions against unqualified doctors will be initiated.

In 2016, the World Health Organization noted that 57.3% of allopathic medicine practitioners in India had no qualifications.

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