Seventh child dies in Kazakhstan HIV case

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ASTANA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - A seventh child has died in Kazakhstan after receiving blood suspected of containing HIV in a transfusion, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

Health officials have tested thousands of children for the virus near the southern city of Shymkent since the outbreak started earlier this year. The number of reported cases has been growing steadily over the past weeks.

A health ministry spokesman said at least 76 children had been infected as well as eight of their mothers.

The HIV outbreak in southern Kazakhstan has raised concerns about Kazakhstan's health system. Many hospitals across the Central Asian state date back to Soviet times and are badly maintained due to a lack of state funding and corruption.

Officials said embezzlement of state money was to blame.

"The main problem here is that people are stealing money everywhere. It's a huge money conveyor belt which is destroying the whole system ..." said Serik Abdrakhmanov, a parliamentary deputy.

HIV/AIDS infection levels have increased dramatically across Central Asia since the collapse of the Soviet Union, mainly among young drug addicts and in prisons.

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I have only one question - did someone take a responsibility for that? Did Head of Health Ministry resign or get fired?