Malawi Government is investigating claims by parents of an 11-year-old girl that their daughter was infected with HIV through blood transfusion at Chikhwawa District Hospital in 2002, Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali confirmed on Tuesday.
Chimbali said the issue was referred to the ministry last week and that it would be premature for government to say much at the moment until they have looked at all elements of the claim and after engaging the parents.
Said Chimbali: â€œThis is just an allegation and until when we have examined everything, we will provide more details if indeed this may have happened..â€
According to the mother, the girl, who is on ARVs, was born on April 27, 2001 and that in 2002 she was diagnosed with malaria.
Claims the mother: â€œLater, I was informed by the hospital officials that my daughter required blood as she had a low blood level.
â€œI was called to ask the father to come for a blood test, by then my husband was behind bars but I managed to request prison officials and he was allowed to come to the hospital for the test.â€
She claims her husband was found HIV negative but his blood group differed with that of the ailing daughter. The mother also says although she tested negative and has the same blood group with the daughter, she could not donate blood because she was breast-feeding.
Says the mother: â€œWe were advised that they get the blood from my husband just to exchange with the blood they kept in their fridge. We accepted the arrangement.
â€œMy daughter was given blood from the fridge. After some months, my daughter started showing strange symptoms of sickness such as swellings and quite often she would suffer from malaria, general fever, headache.
â€œWe took the child to the hospital and she was diagnosed HIV positive.
â€œI have all the reasons to believe that my daughter was infected by the hospital officials.â€
Devlin Busher, executive director of the Centre for Childrenâ€™s Affairs, a non-governmental organisations working in Chikhwawa, said the issue came to their attention through a group of people living positively.
Busher said the mother of the child became concerned after the group declined to register the girl because she was still young, thereby denying her the opportunity of accessing some services such as nutritious food that the group distributes to its members.