Kathmandu, November 27:
Leaders of various political parties today expressed their commitment to prioritise the issue of HIV/AIDS as one of their political agendas to combat the deadly disease.
Speaking at an advocacy workshop for political parties organised jointly by the WHO, Nepal HIV/AIDS Alliance and National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC), they said HIV should be addressed on the national level, as â€œit has become a major health problem in the countryâ€.
Sunil Bhandari of the NC said HIV/AIDS should be included in every political partyâ€™s agenda.
Dev Raj Ghimire of the CPN-UML said his party has already listed HIV/AIDS as a political agenda.
Mahendra Anand of the Nepal Sadhbhawana Party (Anandidevi) stressed the need to implement the policy on HIV/AIDS, while the United Left Front leader Bacchu Rai said the issue of HIV/AIDS should be included in school curricula to create awareness among children about its transmission. Govind Singh Thapa of the Janamorcha stressed on political commitment to address HIV/AIDS.
Dr Amaya Maw-Naing, medical officer of the World Health Organisation, said political commitment was necessary to make changes in the laws and policy on HIV/AIDS.
Dr Rajendra Panta, acting director at NCASC, said there was a need to strengthen the â€˜sentinel surveillance systemâ€™ and introduce integration programmes with the reproductive health programme.
â€œThe government is facing a major challenge in establishing Voluntary Counseling and Training (VCT) Centres throughout the country,â€ said Dr Panta, adding the government would strictly follow the National HIV/AIDS policy 2006-2011.