Fund lack hits HIV/AIDS programmes

KATHMANDU: Owing to the lack of precise mechanism and leadership by the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), the programmes related to HIV/AIDS that are underway in the country have been pushed into uncertainty as the donor agencies are gradually withdrawing their funds. Recently, Global Fund has refused to provide financial assistance to Nepal stating that there is no clear-cut vision and monitoring of HIV/AIDS programmes.

"The MoHP is unable to take the leadership in the programmes regarding the HIV/AIDS. We are more interested towards the effectiveness of the programmes rather than the NGOs," the Global Fund stated. However Umakanta Chaudhary, Minister for Health and Population, expressed his satisfaction over the progress in health sector and claimed that the country would surely achieve the Millennium Development Goal. "We're in touch with other donor agencies for funds for this sector."

Around 14,787 people are infected with the HIV/AIDs in the country till mid-October. There were 2.7 million new HIV infections and 2 million people died due to AIDS last year. According to data of UNAIDS 2008, an estimated 33 million people were living with HIV in 2007.

The World AIDS Day is going to be marked on December 1 with the slogan 'Universal Access and Human Right'.

In the last two years, there is progress in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The UNAIDS data shows that nearly 3 million people were receiving antiretroviral treatment in low and middle-income countries by the end of 2007. According to WHO, new HIV infections have been reduced by 17 per cent over the past eight years.