HK doctors to set up medical centres for HIV-infected in Henan

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 May, 2006, 12:00am

A group of Hong Kong doctors are to set up two health-care centres for people infected with HIV in Henan - the first project of its kind.

About 20 doctors visited Shangcai county during the Easter holiday and visited some of the province's infamous 'Aids villages' where thousands of residents contracted the virus when selling their blood in the 1980s.

The trip was organised by a sub-group of the Federation of Hong Kong Guangdong Community Organisations.

Shangcai has three orphanages that house more than 2,000 children who lost their parents to Aids.

Group leader Jimmy Wong Chi-ho said the federation planned to set up two medical centres in Henan to provide a channel for professional exchanges between Hong Kong and the mainland.

'The centres would also provide a platform for Hong Kong doctors to conduct research and drug trials and provide social support to the patients. Some Hong Kong doctors have already indicated their desire to do voluntary work in Henan,' Dr Wong said, adding that each centre would cost $2 million to set up.

Hong Kong Medical Association president Choi Kin, a member of the delegation, said Hong Kong doctors could help to train mainland health workers in HIV prevention and treatment.

Dr Choi said many mainland doctors were reluctant to practise in rural areas and this had caused an imbalance of medical services between cities and villages. He said not all patients could afford the cocktail therapy, which costs about 100,000 yuan a year. 'Some patients are still too weak to work after taking the medicine. The government now issues monthly allowances, about 20 to 50 yuan, to the patients. It is not much but it's better than nothing.'

He hoped that children who lost their parents to Aids would be able to integrate into the community.

'They are all lovely kids and are all free of HIV,' Dr Choi said.