The central government has sent an Aids taskforce to Henan province, where thousands of patients are still believed to be without proper medication. Sources said the Ministry of Health had dispatched a team of experts to supervise Aids-control programmes and the distribution of medicine. The team, which arrived last month, will remain in the province to monitor the situation until improvements have been made. The source said Henan authorities were unhappy with the stationing of the central government taskforce and demanded it leave, but the request was refused. In poverty-stricken rural areas of Henan, thousands of people were infected with HIV in the 1990s after selling blood to unsanitary clinics where it was then pooled to extract the plasma before being pumped back into the donors to allegedly prevent anaemia. The government outlawed the sale of blood in the late 1990s. Relief agencies poured money into the area, but critics claim most of it did not reach those in need. 'Some of the donations were used to buy Jeeps or air-conditioners for the [village cadres'] offices or living quarters,' said a source familiar with the situation. 'The people the donors intended to help may not have benefited from the money.' Providing the children of dying patients with an education has created another problem. Thousands of children have been forced to leave school as their families are now penniless after paying for medical treatment. Vice-Minister for Health Yin Dakui visited Henan last summer. Official media said he had ordered local authorities to step up measures to assist Aids victims, but sources claimed some local cadres had ignored his request.