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WHO warns of rising HIV rates among babies in Eastern Ukraine


GENEVA – The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday in Geneva, warned of rising HIV rates among babies in eastern Ukraine.

It said hundreds of babies are estimated to be infected with HIV in eastern Ukraine, because the health facilities there have been attacked and can no longer prevent transmission of the virus from mothers to children.

“Blood safety is not ensured, the blood bank of Donetsk was shelled and is damaged,” it said.

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WHO disclosed that before the conflict between the Ukrainian army and Russia-backed separatists broke out, the eastern Donetsk region had nearly 28,000 registered HIV cases, the highest rate in Ukraine.

It said more than 1,800 children of HIV-positive mothers have lost social benefits and food support in the conflict area.

The organisation said more than 6,000 HIV-infected people and AIDS patients have had their treatment disrupted since the beginning of the month.

WHO warned that the lung disease tuberculosis was also on the rise, with a five per-cent increase seen in the rebel-held Donetsk region.

It said the health system in eastern Ukraine has been strained by the shelling of 78 medical facilities, 6 of which were attacked in the past two weeks.

It said in addition, the health sector was now faced with more than a million internally displaced people who have no money to pay for treatment.

“Pharmacies are empty of pretty much all essential medicines, including vaccines..

“Trauma care units in hospitals were also completely overwhelmed,’’ it added. (dpa/NAN)


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