ISLAMABAD: Despite alarming increase in HIV cases, the cash-starved National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) is struggling to reverse the rising tide since the government did not spend a single penny on the programme.
During the last three decades, the HIV pandemic has introduced as an incomprehensible calamity. HIV and AIDS have already taken a terrible human toll, laying claim to millions of lives, inflicting pain and grief, causing fear and uncertainty.
Pakistan is the second largest country in South Asia that stands only a few steps behind India and Nepal in terms of HIV epidemic. Despite such alarming situation, the officials said that the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation is just paying the salary of the staffers, while the Global Funds is bearing the expense of medicines.
The NACP was established in 1986-87 with a focus on diagnosis of the cases that came to hospitals but progressively began to shift towards a community focus. At present, the programme is facing myriad problems due to massive financial crunch mainly caused by the dull response and apathy towards the health sector.
The officials said that the NACP had well-trained 13-member staff, but they have nothing to do since they have no funds, as the ministry earmarked no funds under any head for the programme except the salary, which they were given after eleventh months. They questioned as how they could run public awareness campaigns when they have no money to pay telephone bills due to which six out of eight telephone connections were cut.
Moreover, the officials lamented that they even have no money to purchase stationary and pen and quickly added that the long-abandoned eight luxurious vehicles are rotting in the park due to non-availability of the funds for fuel and repairing. They narrated the ordeal that they have no fund to replace the generator’s battery and to pay bills of gas, water and building’s rent, what to talk of formulating a policy.