Members of the Larkana Social Forum staged a protest rally on Sunday against the acute shortage of medicines to treat HIV patients at government hospitals.The rally started from Pakistan Chowk. After marching on various roads, the participants staged a demonstration at the Jinnah Bagh. The participants included Liaquat Mirani, Aijaz Chandio, Dr Tariq Soomro, Jamil Gaad, Nazim Chandio, Akbar Ahmar Phool and others. While addressing the participants, they said that all government hospitals in Larkana were facing an acute shortage of medicines. “All indoor and outdoor patients have to procure drugs out of their own pocket despite their poverty. Those poor patients who cannot afford to buy medicines from the market soon lose their lives. However, the Sindh government and its Health Department has done nothing yet to provide the required medicines to the ailing populace which is a highly condemnable act. Many doctors and paramedical staff members are busy in private practice in bigger cities. They abscond from their government duties and just draw monthly salaries out of taxpayer’s hard earned money,” they said. They said that the government should launch a crackdown against ghost employees in the Health Department.“This leaves patients at the mercy of paramedical staff in government hospitals. These paramedics act as doctors and surgeons in government health establishments in far-flung areas. They loot innocent people with both hands as they run their private clinics in their homes,” he said. “Due to the negligence of provincial government, the number of HIV positive cases are rising. No proper actions have so far been taken to find out the root cause,” they said.The protesters urged the government to take immediate notice of the issues faced by the poor people, especially the shortage of medicines in government hospitals.