"New AIDS programme not comprehensive"

Lack of funds forcing NACO to shrink its initiative


Sonal Matharu | May 17, 2011

The 175 NGO-run care and support centres for the people living with HIV/AIDS across the country will soon be shut down if the government has its way in the fourth phase of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) which is in its drafting stage.

A care and support centre is a link between people who have been tested positive for HIV and the anti-retrovial treatment (ART) centre where they get medicines once the CD4 count in the blood falls. These support centres are run partly by funding from the government’s National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) and the rest comes from the NGO’s own resources, says Anjali Gopalan of Naz Foundation India.

“HIV-positive patients are not given admission in hospitals, so if they are very ill they can come to these care centres where they are admitted and given treatment till they get better,” said P Kausalya from Positive Women’s Network, Chennai. The civil society member working with HIV-positive people met journalists on Tuesday to highlight the matters NACO is neglecting in the NACP-IV.

These centres prepare the patients to get ART and also counsel them. The government now plans to have only ART centres where the patients will only get their medicine dose and nothing else, informs Gopalan.

The government’s funding to the existing centres has been delayed by six months, sources said, and one centre each in Delhi and Hyderabad and two in Chennai have already closed down. The annual expenses of a centre with 10 to 15 bed capacity range between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 20 lakh.

“The hospitals do not admit HIV-positive patients saying that they are already on ART so they do not need hospitalisation. These care centres are not just about medicines, they also help patients who have side-effects with ART besides taking care of their nutritional needs,” said Gopalan. 

The civil society members expressed their displeasure that the activists, who work closely with people living with HIV, have not even been consulted for the NACP-IV drafting - unlike in the drafting of the NACP-III. 

Representatives of 90 NGOs met the NACO officials last week. The NACO has agreed to give voice to civil society’s concerns. It has also agreed to hold regional consultations as needs of different communities in different regions differ.

Also, children’s needs are totally neglected in the national AIDS programme. Usually, they are clubbed with women, says Sanghamitra Iyengar from Samraksha, Bangalore.

The members are worried that resources with NACO are constrained as a lot of international donors have pulled out. “The government contributes less than 14 percent to NACO. Most of NACO’s funding comes from international donors,” said Loon Gangte from Delhi Network of People living with HIV.

After the civil society raised questions over the non-transparent way of functioning by NACO, the department has agreed to share all the information on its website, including its mid-term review.

NACP is revised by the NACO every five years. The fourth phase of NACP will be launched in 2012. NACO officials did not respond to several calls made to get their viewpoint.



Other News

Making sense of the ‘crisis of political representation’

Imprints of the Populist Time By Ranabir Samaddar Orient BlackSwan, 352 pages, Rs. 1105 The crisis of liberal democracy in the neoliberal world—marked by massive l

Budget: Highlights

Union minister of finance and corporate affairs Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament on Wednesday. The highlights of the Budget are as follows: PART A     Per capita income has more than doubled to Rs 1.97 lakh in around

Budget presents vision for Amrit Kaal: A blueprint for empowered, inclusive economy

Union Budget 2023-24, presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on Wednesday, outlined the vision of Amrit Kaal which shall reflect an empowered and inclusive economy.  “We envision a prosperous and inclusive India, in which the fruits of development reach all regions an

Soumya Swaminathan to head M S Swaminathan Research Foundation

Former World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan takes charge as chairperson of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) from February 1.   Founded by her father, the legendary agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan, MSSRF was set up to accelerate the use of m

m-Governance: Key to Digital India

The digital revolution is being led by India. Digital governance is a key component of the government's ambition to transform India into a society where everyone has access to the internet. It includes both M-governance and E-governance, which are major methods for the delivery of services via mobile devic

A sacred offering of the beauty of ‘Saundarya Lahari’ – in English

Saundarya Lahari: Wave of Beauty Translated from the Sanskrit by Mani Rao HarperCollins, 218 pages, Rs 399 ‘Saundarya Lahari’, usually ascribed to Adi Shankaracharya, has a unique status among the religious-spiritual works of Hinduism.

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Current Issue


Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter