ISLAMABAD – World AIDS Day was marked around the world on Saturday but no event or activity in connection with the day was held in the federal capital, as the government has no time and money to make operational its National AIDS Control Programm (NACP) that has been virtually halted.
According to information, currently the programme has almost been suspended at the federal level, as the federal government has not released the salaries and budget for 32 employees and other activities of the programme for the past six months.
After the devolution of the Health Ministry, the programme was placed under the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination but the funds were not released to the programme. “The programme officials had received a notification from the Prime Minister Secretariat after the devolution, saying that the programme has been revived and placed under the control of Ministry of IPC but the Planning and Development Division has not release the funds since July 1, 2012 despite that the government had earmarked Rs 247 million for the current fiscal year,” informed an official.
So there has been no activity by the prgramme due to non-release of budget and salaries. The government has been sent three reminders but to no avail due to lack of will and commitment on the part of the federal government to run the programme, he added.
Confirming the details, Naeem Akhtar, an official from the media department of the programme said before the devolution of the Health Ministry the programme used to hold 30 days advocacy and awareness campaign to mark the event but now there has been no activity as the programme has not been getting any funds.
According to officials, due to non-payment of budget Aids control and prevention activities such as advocacy and awareness in targeted groups, for general public and students have been completely halted.
Though the programme has been managing to distribute antiretroviral medicines used for the treatment of HIV and AIDS for 3000 patients across the country through the support of Global Fund, it is feared that the fund would stop the provision of medicines for the patients as NACP does not has the capacity to store the medicines. ‘ This year the fund had donated the medicines and kits worth $ 7 lacs but the stores of the NACP do not have generators or infrastructure to maintain the required temperature that may affect the medicines that are stored at or below -20 degree C’.
The UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, that helps the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, also did not show any interest to revive the programme when contacted by the programme officials after seeing the governments’ ill-will and lack of commitment to the programme.