Treatment for HIV/AIDS patients at the city’s nodal Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centre at JJ Hospital could be affected, as the center has no doctors to treat patients. While all the three posts for medical officers at the center are vacant, the centre’s head, Dr Alka Deshpande’s extension term ended on Monday.
The ART Centre sees an average of 100 patients every day. The centre’s sole medical officer resigned in December after which residents from the medicine department had to be roped in to help run the centre.
“However, Dr Deshpande had come to the hospital even on Tuesday as no one else was there to attend to patients who queue up everyday. ART treatment cannot be delayed as the patients have a very low CD4 count in their body making their immunity very low,” said a source from the centre.
ART treatment helps prolong HIV/AIDS patients’ lives.
“The Centre treats patients from the state, Madhya Pradesh and Goa. The centre doesn’t have a single staff nurse or nutritionist. Moreover, many doctors from various places treating HIV patients call the ART center to take advice. We are unaware what were either NACO or JJ hospital authorities doing till now,” said the source.
“We were not informed that the center is short of doctors. The center is of utmost importance to us as it treats the maximum patients are seen in JJ’s ART center. However, we only fund the center. JJ hospital doctors should look into the matter,” said Dr Harish Phatak, additional director of Mumbai District AIDS Control Society. However, Dr B.B. Rewari, national programme officer of National AIDS Control Society said that he would enquire into the matter.