A public interest litigation has been filed in Kolkata, demanding that the West Bengal government foot the bill for the medical treatment of any one who has contracted HIV, Hepatitis B or C in the last one year. This is because those suffering may have contracted the disease because the state health department was using faulty diagnostic kits.
Lakhs of faulty kits have been in circulation in the state since last year. While some of the suppliers have been arrested, investigations are on to confirm the health department’s connivance in the scam.
The PIL makes four specific demands:
* Government should pay for faulty kit victims’ medical care
* Blood recipients in the last one year be barred from donating blood so that infections do not spread
* Publish list of blood recipients from May 2005 to Oct 2006
* Bring health department officials to book
Two suppliers of the faulty kits are behind bars and two health department officials have been issued a showcause notice. But the opposition wants harsher action. A conservative estimate puts the number of potential victims of the blood kit scam at four lakh.