Grade 6 pupil plays nurse, in­jects play­mates HIV SCARE FOR 12 MI­NORS

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Nqo­bile Tshili

A GRADE Six pupil at a school in Bulawayo al­legedly in­jected 12 chil­dren from Pe­land­aba sub­urb with an un­known sub­stance, spread­ing panic among par­ents that the kids could have been in­fected with HIV.

Con­cerned par­ents rushed their chil­dren to Mpilo Cen­tral Hospi­tal fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent which hap­pened on Mon­day at around 12 noon.

One of the par­ents told The Chron­i­cle that the chil­dren were play­ing “doc­tors and nurses” when one of them found a sy­ringe with a nee­dle.

The Grade Six pupil, who can­not be named be­cause she is a mi­nor, as­sumed the role of a nurse and in­jected her friends with an un­known con­coc­tion at her home.

The pupil lives with her grand­mother as her mother works in South Africa.

An­other par­ent said it was wor­ry­ing that chil­dren were able to ac­cess danger­ous in­stru­ments like sy­ringes and nee­dles.

“We’re liv­ing in times where peo­ple are sur­viv­ing with var­i­ous ail­ments. For a child to have a sy­ringe which she uses to prick other kids is wor­ry­ing. We don’t even know who pre­vi­ously used the sy­ringe and for what pur­poses,” he said.

He added: “In panic par­ents rushed their chil­dren to Mpilo as they sus­pected that their chil­dren could have been ex­posed to HIV. You can imag­ine the same nee­dle was used on 12 chil­dren. These days some kids are born with HIV. Chances are high that if the nee­dle was not in­fected in the first place, one of the 12 chil­dren could have in­fected oth­ers.”

A Chron­i­cle news crew vis­ited the sub­urb yes­ter­day and the chil­dren had been taken to Mpilo Cen­tral Hospi­tal for check ups.

Mrs Saliwe Ny­oni, a rel­a­tive to one of the par­ents whose child was in­jected, said she was pray­ing that the chil­dren did not con­tract HIV or other dis­eases. “We’re told that she (Grade Six pupil) called the chil­dren to her home where she in­jected them with an un­known sub­stance. The chil­dren were taken to Mpilo yes­ter­day af­ter the par­ents learnt of what had hap­pened. We just hope the chil­dren will not con­tract any dis­eases,” said Mrs Ny­oni. Mpilo Cen­tral Hospi­tal clin­i­cal direc­tor Dr Sol­wayo Ng­wenya said nine chil­dren were ad­mit­ted to the hospi­tal fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent. “We’re wor­ried about this in­ci­dent. So far all nec­es­sary pre­ven­tive steps have been taken so we can’t re­ally say it’s a life threat­en­ing sit­u­a­tion,” said Dr Ng­wenya.

“The fact is we don’t like to hear that danger­ous things such as sy­ringes, nee­dles, razors, poi­sons and matches are be­ing left within reach of chil­dren.”

He said par­ents and other grown-ups had a duty to en­sure they never leave such things where chil­dren can reach them.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, chil­dren should be taught not to touch or play with these danger­ous ob­jects if they come across them,” said Dr Ng­wenya.

A med­i­cal doc­tor who de­clined to be named for pro­fes­sional rea­sons said nee­dles used more than once were danger­ous be­cause they could ex­pose peo­ple to HIV, hep­ati­tis B virus (HBV), and hep­ati­tis C virus (HCV).

He said to pre­vent in­fec­tions, vic­tims should be taken for post-ex­po­sure pro­phy­laxis within a few hours of ex­po­sure for some in­fec­tions and about 72 hours for HIV.— @nqot­shili.

Mrs Saliwe Ny­oni

Dr Sol­wayo Ng­wenya

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