NHRC issues notice to Maha govt as thalassaemic kids contract HIV, hepatitis B
NHRC took cognisance of a BBC News Marathi report about six thalassaemic children, who contracted HIV and hepatitis B after blood transfusion in Maharashtra’s Nagpur and Amravati
NAGPUR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognisance of a BBC News Marathi report about six thalassaemic children, who contracted HIV and hepatitis B after blood transfusion in Maharashtra’s Nagpur and Amravati, and issued a notice to the state government. One of the children has since died.
NHRC has asked the state food and drugs administration department secretary to submit a report on a preliminary investigation into the matter within six weeks and initiate criminal proceedings.
“The report is expected to include action taken or proposed to be taken against the erring public servants/officials if found guilty. He has also been asked to report if any interim compensation or any further payment of compensation [has been] given to the next of kin of the deceased child and the treatment initiated by the State for the other victim children,” NHRC said in its notice.
The notice cited the report and said the blood for transfusion has to be first screened through a test. In the absence of the testing facility, the children were given contaminated blood. After the transfusion, three children tested HIV positive and three others contracted hepatitis B. NHRC said if the report is true, it amounts to a human rights violation.
Assistant director (health) Ravi Dhakate said a committee has been constituted to probe into the matter and to identify where the children received contaminated blood. “We will collect the information and take action after the probe.”
Vicky Rughwani, the doctor treating some of the infected children, said all of them were aged between one and 12. “They were tested during treatment and were found to have HIV and hepatitis B after the transfusion of contaminated blood. It is necessary to have the blood given to the children suffering from thalassemia tested.” He said thalassemia patients require lifelong regular blood transfusions
No police complaint has so far been filed against the blood banks.