She rarely utters a word or opens her eyes. In fact, three-year-old Pooja, afflicted by AIDS that has already killed her parents, hardly moves on her bed. Doctors say she is on the verge of death. Her poor uncle is shattered.
Pooja's birthday falls next month and her maternal uncle Naresh is praying that god 'gift' her with her 'death' because the disease is in an advanced stage.
Advertisement"I met several doctors in private and government hospitals during the past one month as Pooja behaves like a dead person and hardly moves," a despondent Naresh told IANS.
"They all asked me to pray to god so that she dies early. The disease is at an advanced stage when the body normally stops functioning," said Naresh, who lives in the Urla area on the outskirts of the city and works in a local factory.
Since Naresh earns just Rs.90 a day, he cannot pay for expensive treatment. All his appeals for economic help from the government and social bodies have fallen on deaf ears.
"It's extremely painful to know the plight of the girl. She inherited AIDS from her parents who died after doctors of the government hospital gave up hope of saving them," said R.K. Rajmani, chief of Chhattisgarh's AIDS Control Committee.
"The health department and the AIDS control committee focus on creating awareness among masses for AIDS prevention, we have no provision to provide economic assistance to any individual or family suffering from AIDS," he said.
Pooja's parents and elder sister have already succumbed to the killer disease.
Her father, Indra Jangre, 34, died in 2004. Her mother Gayatri, 30, passed away in 2005 and her elder sister Arti, 4, died in April this year.
Doctors confirmed that all the three had died due to AIDS and that Pooja too had got the disease from her parents.
Rajmani said Chhattisgarh had a total of 317 confirmed AIDS patients and 1,161 HIV positive patients.
Health officials said the confirmed AIDS cases were reported only from urban areas and they did not have figures from the vast rural belt that lacks basic infrastructure like government hospitals and centres to test blood samples.
In May, UNAIDS said there were an estimated 5.7 million Indians living with the disease at the end of 2005, more than in any other country and ahead of South Africa's 5.5 million cases.
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