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‘NACO merger with NRHM not insensitive’

New Delhi: The convergence of India’s AIDS control mission with the government’s flagship National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) is not going to be insensitive for the communities and the vulnerable sections involved, Planning Commission member Syeda Hamid said here on Friday.

Syeda Hamid

“The whole idea behind integration is not to do it in a ham-handed manner and reversing the AIDS control department’s achievements. We are not going to be insensitive to the needs of the vulnerable communities involved,” said Hamid, head of the steering committee on health in the plan panel, at the NACP-III Dissemination Summit 2012.

The steering committee for the 12th plan had proposed to the Commission to integrate the two-decade old National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) with the NRHM that functions across the country to provide basic healthcare delivery and strengthening community health structure. NACO, established with the mission of prevention, care and support of people living and affected by HIV, is under the ministry of health and family welfare.

The merger had raised apprehensions on the delivery of services to the marginalized communities affected by HIV-AIDS who are already facing the burden of stigma and discrimination. India has a population of around 2.5 million HIV positive, third largest across the globe.

Referring to the B K Chaturvedi report on restructuring centrally-sponsored schemes, Hamid said the Plan panel would keep in minds the importance of the AIDS control schemes.

“We have been reminded again and again that there are a lot of centrally sponsored schemes with the same purpose on health. Some programmes of NACO are already taking place in convergence with NRHM and we will ensure the convergence is done in the right manner,” she said.

NACO is currently in the concluding phase of its national AIDS control programme (NACP) phase 3. NACP 4 has been rolled out on April 1, the department says. While the NACO has adopted a work approach through communities, civil societies and government, the NRHM works on various vertices of disease control and prevention nationwide.

The three-day conference (April 25-27) was organised by NACO in coordination with USAID, UNAIDS, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other development partners with participation from 500 delegates from 25 states. [Source: IANS]

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