Emphasis on health programs decreasing?
The proposed cut of Rs 60 Billion in the healthcare budget and restrictions in health programmes sparked issues over the falling importance of AIDS programmes. Shortage of grants and funds, dearth in drugs, and delays in programme implementations have put the government's anti-AIDS programme in a mess. With health workers being laid-off, a further decline in HIV awareness programmes was predicted by NACO.
National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) was established in 1992 to undertake efforts to impart understanding about the disease as well as minimize and control HIV infections. The organisation has over 35 HIV prevention centres across the nation to create awareness among the public. In 2010, NACO initiated "TeachAIDS" programme that aimed to create awareness about HIV through the education curriculum.
NACO, an independent body was brought under the Health Ministry. This caused delay in sanctions for newer supplies as NACO had to seek the Ministry's permission for every dispatch. Disposable syringes and other health-kit supplies dried-up in health-care centers and left infected patients without access to drugs. Though organizations like World Bank had sponsored NACO, the officials did not comment over dearth in supply.
A cap on the funding of health programmes by the Central Government caused infections to shoot in Mizoram. Centrally funded health interventions centers across India were asked to seek funds from the respective state governments. Free drugs and diagnostic schemes under National Health Assurance Mission too were cut-down. The government was blamed for the increased infections and for causing a perfect system to collapse.
Philippines implemented a successful HIV prevention programme in the country. After a brief stint the same was scaled-down. This action led to the rates of infection to shoot-up instantaneously.
Government representatives assured that a cap in funding would not have any negative impact. They also assured that the states would spend the money instead of central funding. With AIDS control shifted to respective states, new infections cropped-up in states in which earlier there was low-prevalence. 15 schemes that were to receive funding from the centre did not receive any separate funds.