The Times of India.

HIV+ child to return to school, Monotosh Chakraborty | TNN | Nov 22, 2015, 

KOLKATA: A couple of days after The Times of India reported on the plight of an HIV+ seven-year-old child from Bishnupur, who has been denied entry to the private school where he was studying after his mother disclosed his health condition to the headmaster, the South 24-Parganas administration on Saturday persuaded most of the other guardians that there was no danger to their wards if this boy studied with them.

Not all the parents were convinced, but after several rounds of discussions, about 80% agreed, say sources. They indicated this by their silence, though. It was enough for a "unanimous decision" for the child will return to school from Monday.

On Thursday, TOI had reported that the child, whose parents are HIV+, was detected as a carrier of the virus in January. Instead of keeping the matter hidden, his mother — who works as a volunteer in HIV awareness — informed principal Sanjib Naskar. She felt that school authorities need to know and take necessary precautions should the boy hurt himself and bleed. Handling HIV+ blood without necessary precautions can result in spreading of the virus.

Things were fine till June when Naskar informed the child's mother that several guardians have submitted a petition, demanding that her son's name be struck off the rolls. The boy's grandmother, who teaches in the same school, was made to undergo a test to prove that she is not an HIV carrier. Naskar, however, told TOI that the child's mother was raising the issue after the school demanded that she pay up pending fees The woman countered that it was Naskar who had waived the fees.

On coming to know of the issue, South 24-Parganas district magistrate P B Saleem promised to ensure that the boy gets to study in that very school. On Saturday, he called a meeting of guardians and teachers. This was attended by Alipore SDO Praloy Majumder, the district chief medical officer-health, MLA Dilip Mondal and several NGO members who work with HIV patients.

After the medical experts and NGOs spoke on HIV+ and how it doesn't spread through normal day-to -day activities, some parents still expressed their reservations. They asked the experts whether they would have said the same had their children studied in that school. Many demanded that the boy be isolated in a classroom. About 80% started out protesting the inclusion. In the end though, two parents spoke of behalf of everyone and said they have no problem if the boy studies in the school provided he has a special maid to look after him.

Naskar then brought up the issue of pending fees, saying the boy had not paid his dues for two years. Local MLA Dilip Mondal and social worker Sailen Ghosh said they would clear the dues and arrange for a special maid, thereby clearing the path for the child's education.

Tram tableau taken out for awareness of thalassaemia

The Hindu

KOLKATA, May 9, 2014

Youth urged to test themselves before getting married

As soon as a brown heritage tram trundled up and sighed to a halt next to a waiting crowd of about 50 children and their parents at the Esplanade depot, the children excitedly rushed and waited as the tram conductors opened the locked doors. After all, they had been waiting for over an hour in the heat to take the tram ride across the city. Hailing from different districts of the State, the children had one thing in common - they are all suffering from thalassaemia.

The Thalassaemia and AIDS Prevention Society on Thursday organised an awareness programme to observe the 23rd year of World Thalassaemia Day.

The society organised a tram tableau to raise awareness of prevention of thalassaemia and blood donation. Starting from central Kolkata’s Esplanade, the tram went to southern Kolkata’s Tollgunj, central-western Kolkata’s Khidirpur, and Rajabajar in north-central part of the city before going back to Esplanade.

“My grandson was only three-and-half-year-old when he was diagnosed with thalassaemia. Acquiring blood for him is difficult. To make matters worse, his blood group is O positive, a rare blood group type,” said Maya Bhowmick, a newspaper vendor at Uluberia station near Kolkata. She was accompanying her seven-year-old grandson Sudipto Bhowmick.

“The ongoing elections are making it even more difficult to acquire blood (workers in State-run blood banks are being deputed for election duty). I took my grandson to the hospital on Saturday only to be told to come back on Monday as there was no blood,” Ms. Bhowmick said.

Appealing to the public to donate blood, the society’s general secretary, Sailen Ghosh said, “About 1,10,000 children suffer from thalassaemia in West Bengal out of which about 25,000 thalassaemic children live in Kolkata. Around 450 children are registered with our society. The youth should come forward to donate blood… And get themselves tested prior to getting married to find out if they are carriers of thalassaemia. Efforts should be made to decrease thalassaemic child birth rate.”

Blood poisons 30 children - Ugly head of HIV in transfusion

The Telegraph

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Ananda Saha (name changed), the three-year-old boy from Habra, is not the only person in the state who has been infected with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, through blood transfusion.
At least 30 other children, and one or two adults as well, who are patients of either thalassaemia or haemophilia, have become HIV positive. These patients frequently require transfusion of blood products that are supposed to be screened thoroughly by blood banks.
The bulk of the detections has taken place at the School of Tropical Medicine, where 28 persons suffering from thalassaemia and haemophilia have been found to be HIV positive after the confirmatory test.
“We have treated a few such patients once their condition required admission. Most of them have been thalassaemia children as they require transfusion more frequently than haemophiliacs,” said B.K. Saha, head of the department of medicine at the school’s hospital.
Most of these patients are from low-income families and have mostly had their blood transfusions done either at NRS hospital (like Ananda) or at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.
Two of the 160 patients undergoing treatment under the aegis of the Thalassaemia Foundation were detected HIV positive when tests were conducted at the All India Institute of Public Health & Hygiene. “One person is about 22, while the other is four or five years old,” said Debabrata Pal of the institute’s microbiology department.
The Haemophilia Society knows of three of its members who have become HIV positive after being administered contaminated blood products.
“Low-income families take their children to NRS hospital because it was, for some time, the only government hospital that had a specialised unit under the thalassaemia community control programme of the Indian Council of Medical Research,” said Sailen Ghosh, president of Thalassaemia and AIDS Prevention Society.
This would explain why NRS is the common place of contamination. Now, Medical College has a unit, too.
The recent death of seven-year-old Raju Sahuji of Basirhat, of AIDS-related complications, has shattered his parents. He was responding to thalassaemia treatment but infection through blood transfusion led to his death. Like Ananda, he was also detected HIV positive while undergoing treatment at NRS.
“Raju’s parents had come to us after they were told about his infection,” said D. Ashis, secretary of Medical Bank, a voluntary organisation. “They asked us what could be done. We could only promise taking it up with the health department.”
In May 2001 an inquiry was ordered by the health department after four thalassaemia children, being treated at NRS hospital, were detected with HIV. But the probe drew a blank.

Kolkata: AIDS Awareness Rally


November 30, 2011

In Kolkata, a social group organized a rally to increase AIDS awareness among women.
A large number of women and children turned up for the rally that was aimed at reviving flagging interest of the public in fighting HIV/AIDS that is rapidly increasing.
Speaking to media persons, Sailen Ghosh, General Secretary of the Thalassaemia and AIDs Prevention Society, said the prime objective behind organising the rally, was to protect expecting mothers and their children from the HIV virus.
"There is AIDS day on December 1, so we held opening programme with this rally. The theme for our 2011 programme is 'women's awareness' because our aim is to save the baby in embryonic stage so that infected mother may not give birth else it will be dangerous. That's why we have included maximum women and girls in this rally and also appealed them that whenever they conceive, they must get HIV tested," said Ghosh.
The UNAIDS report reveals that about 15 percent of pregnant women living with HIV across India seek treatment too late in their pregnancies-immediately before or during labour-and that they give birth to about 50 percent of all HIV-positive children in the country.
The report further reveals that there are an estimated 2.4 million people living with HIV in India, one of the countries with the highest numbers of people living with HIV globally.
India's fight against HIV/AIDS over the past decade has been a great success surpassing by far other countries' efforts.
There is no cure for HIV but the progress of the infection can be controlled for years by various drugs.

A dozen thalassaemia patients get HIV infection through govt blood banks annually

The Indian Express

October 20, 2006

Kolkata, INDIA: EVERY year, nearly a dozen thalassaemia patients are infected with the dreaded HIV virus at State-run blood banks in the city. This shocking revelation came to light following a survey conducted by the Nilratan Sarkar Medical College Hospital blood bank last year.

The study was undertaken by the Thalassaemia Children Day Care Centre attached to the NRS hospital blood bank. A total of 195 children suffering from thalassaemia, who received periodic blood transfusions at the medical college blood bank, were monitored. At the end of the year, during which the children got 909 units of blood, 12 of them — about six per cent — were found to have been infected with HIV.
The cause of the infection was attributed to lack of proper infrastructure and a total disregard for blood transfusion safety norms, according to the study.
Health department officials admitted that the ratio of thalassaemic children getting infected with HIV through blood transfusions is around the same at blood banks in other medical college hospitals, including central blood banks.
Newsline met some thalassaemia patients who became HIV-positive after getting blood from State-run blood banks recently. Choton Roy, 14, was infected during a blood transfusion from the NRS Hospital blood bank on November 24, 2004. A resident of Howrah, Choton’s father — the only earning member of the family — works at a local shop.

Shalini Bose, 22, a resident of Budge Budge,was found to have been infected with the HIV virus on March 18, 2006. She too had been receiving blood transfusions from the NRS blood bank.
“Thalassaemia itself is traumatic for the children as well as their family members. Apart from the physical pain of blood transfusions every alternate week, a lot of medicines are administered to the child. For the parents, it is a race against time. Imagine being HIV-positive over all that, for no fault of theirs,” said Sailen Ghosh , general secretary of the Thalassaemia and AIDS Prevention Society, a city-based NGO, working with such children.


Thu, 2 Nov 2006-03:18pm

KOLKATA: A tip-off from an employee at Monozyme resulted in the Kolkata police finding more than 100,000 obsolete blood-test kits in blood banks across the state. Monozyme India had supplied the kits, which are used to screen potential blood donors, to nine other Indian states, police in Kolkata said. Two other medical supply companies are now also under investigation suspected of similar fraud. There are reports of people catching HIV after receiving blood from donors who were wrongly given the all-clear. Sailen Ghosh, secretary of the Thalassaemia and AIDS Prevention Society in Kolkata, said he knew of six people who caught HIV in the last year after receiving routine blood transfusions. Police said the number of people infected with HIV and hepatitis after receiving badly screened blood could run into thousands. The government is seizing kits across the country and has ordered a probe into the possible fraud after two brothers appeared in a Kolkata court on Monday accused of selling hundreds of thousands of blood-testing kits long past their expiry date. Govind and Ghansyam Sharma, whose Monozyme India has several contracts to supply kits to the government, deny charges of malpractice and forgery. Both are in police custody after being denied bail. “The Kolkata police findings have a strong nationwide connection and we have ordered seizures of kits from every other state.” said PK Hota, who retired on Wednesday as India's health secretary “We will ... find out how many people have been infected by HIV or hepatitis and rectify the mistakes,” he added. The news follows a report published by Britain's Royal Society of Medicine that said India dangerously underestimated the number of its estimated 5.7 million HIV-infected people who caught the virus through reused needles in hospitals and similar hygiene lapses. The US researchers, writing in the society's International Journal of STD (sexually transmitted disease) and AIDS, said India is placing too much emphasis on preventing the sexual transmission of the virus. India says more than 80 percent of HIV-infected people caught the virus while having sex, much of the time with prostitutes. The report says these figures are inflated and are blinding India to preventing other routes of transmission