Tuesday, March 18

AIDS amongst irregular immigrants

AIDS fost prostituti suwed
minn Victor Vella u Kurt Farrugia

...Ghal zewg mistoqsijiet diretti lill-Ministeru tas-Sahha dwar jekk hemmx persuni fost l-immigranti irregolari f’Hal Far li ghandhom l-AIDS jew l-HIV, il-Ministeru naqas milli jkun specifiku u qal li “l-informazzjoni mitluba fil-mistoqsija t’hawn fuq tista’ twassal biex jigu identifikati persuni individwali.”

Din ir-risposta prattikament tikkonferma li hemm persuni li qed isofru l-marda trasmessa sesswalment ta’ l-AIDS jew l-HIV.

...Fatt interessanti li hareg mir-risposti tal-Ministeru tas-Sahha ghall-mistoqsijiet li ghamlet it-TORCA kien li id-Divizjoni tas-Sahha ma taghmel ebda screening ghal mard infettiv, hlief ghat-Tubercolosis, fuq bazi regolari lil ebda persuna li tidhol kemm legalment kif ukoll illegalment.

Intant, it-TORCA ghamlet mistoqsijiet diretti lill-Ministeru tal-Familja u Solidarjetà Socjali dwar il-prostituzzjoni f’Hal Far u dwar rapporti li hemm uhud minnhom igorru l-marda ta’ l-AIDS/HIV. Ir-risposti tal-Ministeru kienu evasivi ferm minghajr risposti konkreti.

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Why were the irregular immigrants screened for Tubercolosis but not HIV/AIDS?

Has the screening process changed since 2005?

This is what has certainly changed... "in 2007 Sub-Saharan Africa contained an estimated 68% of all people living with AIDS and 76% of all AIDS deaths, with 1.7 million new infections bringing the number of people living with HIV to 22.5 million, and with 11.4 million AIDS orphans living in the region. Unlike other regions, most people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007 (61%) were women. AIDS continued to be the single largest cause of mortality in this region. Life expectancy has fallen dramatically; for example, in 2006 it was estimated that it had dropped from 65 to 35 years in Botswana", from wikipedia.

Today, the folks at the Health Department were kind enough to tell us HIV home test kits should not be used. Now how about they tell us how many of the thousands of irregular immigrants in Malta do have AIDS or HIV, and how this problem is being dealt with?

Don't we deserve to know?

Don't we deserve to know if the Health Department is incompetent?


UPDATE 1

My last post was deemed by some to be controversial. In it I quoted a Torca article called "AIDS fost prostituti suwed" where it was made clear that irregular immigrants are not screened for HIV and AIDS. The result? Some insinuated that I am a racist, others insinuated that I go whoring. Seems those are the only two kinds of people who could be concerned about infectious diseases in Malta.

All irregular African immigrants are already being tested for tubercolosis. Since 68% of people with HIV/AIDS in the world live in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, why shouldn’t they be tested for HIV/AIDS as well while they're at it? I can conclude that if Birdflu were to explode in Russia, the Malta Health Department wouldn’t be testing/treating inbound Russians.

Not only is the Health Department's way of dealing with this problem incompetent for the well-being of the country, but it is also inhuman towards the irregular immigrants. I’d hazard a guess that they aren’t tested for HIV/AIDS because CZT pills are very expensive and the government doesn’t want to spend money on treating them. So they let them go sick and untreated: to die quicker, I guess. In between, the disease spreads of course.

Am I the only who thinks they should be screened for HIV/AIDS? No, a huge humanitarian aid organisation called Medecins du Monde agrees:

"French medical organisation “Medecins du Monde” (MdM) has slammed the living conditions in Malta’s closed detention centres as “detrimental” and “incompatible with a minimum of respect of human rights”, while at the same time expressing concern regarding the lack of any screening policy for infectious diseases such as HIV and AIDS", from MaltaToday.


UPDATE 2

Like Michael Corleone, just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in.

I was going to post about another topic but this article appeared on the Times today:

World TB Day today

Today Malta will join countries around the globe to mark World TB Day through a forum that will discuss the way forward for further improvement of tuberculosis control in Malta.

The main aim of the day - under the slogan I Am Stopping TB - is to increase awareness of the disease, by informing the public on how it is transmitted and how it can be controlled.

Last year 38 cases of tuberculosis were notified in Malta, 24 of which were among foreigners. Nineteen of these cases were among irregular immigrants.

Charmaine Gauci, the head of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Department, said that since irregular immigrants come from countries where TB is highly endemic, they are screened for the infectious type of the bacteria when they arrive in Malta.


"Any active cases are admitted to a special ward in hospital for treatment until they are no longer infectious."

Moreover, she continued, those working with irregular immigrants are regularly screened, adding that no active cases of TB have been found among staff working with irregular immigrants.

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So the Health Department screens immigrants for TB, because TB is highly endemic in Africa. But not for AIDS, no. After all, Africa is only the AIDS capital of the world.






6 comments:

david santos said...

Hello, Keith!
Thanks for yoour posting and have a good day,

Jon said...

This news is at least a year and a half old, or am i wrong? It was reported in the 'L-orizzont' a couple of summers ago.

KEITH CHIRCOP said...

It is 3 years old, as stated in the blog post.

KEITH CHIRCOP said...

The blog post isn't about what was discovered years ago. It is about what has (or hasn't) been done about the matter.

Rupert Cefai said...

"Now how about they tell us how many of the thousands of illegal immigrants in Malta do have AIDS or HIV, and how they are being dealt with?

Don't we deserve to know?"

NO

do i have the right to know YOUR medical history and what you are doing about it? when was the last time YOU were tested for diseases and infections? its personal right? why should it be different for irregula immegrants?

and yes it is irregular and not illegal.

KEITH CHIRCOP said...

Rupert, the African immigrants that come by boat are already screened for tubercolosis. All I'm saying is that they should be screened for AIDS as well. This because almost 70% of people with AIDS in the world live in Africa - no other reason.

I never said the identity of the people who are infected should be made public. That wouldn't do any good.

The Health Department should know the number of people infected (Maltese and foreign) and take it from there.