Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday announced Rs 5 lakh each for the patients who tested HIV-positive after receiving blood from a state-run hospital. He also said the government would bear the medical expenses for the treatment of the victims.
Four persons – one of them suffering from ulcer-related complications – had received blood over the past few months at the civil hospital in Mangaldoi town, some 70km northeast of Guwahati. Their infection was confirmed on Friday, observed globally as World Blood Donor Day.
Last week, the Assam government instituted a probe panel headed by additional chief secretary PP Varma for fixing responsibilities after submitting its report within a month. “We have also asked the state advocate general to explore legal options for initiating deterrent action against those found guilty for the serious lapses,” Gogoi said.
On Monday, health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and principal secretary, health and family welfare, VS Bhaskar left for Mangaldoi Civil Hospital to take stock of the situation following the HIV scare.
The four infected persons had last week said the medicos had talked them into receiving blood from the same professional donor. The donor said he was not aware of his HIV status, maintaining that onus was on the hospital’s blood bank to conduct mandatory tests before accepting his blood.
But SI Ahmed, head of AIDS Prevention Society said the donor had registered at the anti-retroviral therapy centre in Guwahati in April. “His next appointment for ART is in November,” he added.
Several organisations, meanwhile, have been staging demonstrations at the civil hospital seeking exemplary punishment of those responsible for ‘spreading HIV through blood bank scam.’ A few persons have been injured in resultant clashes with the police.