Monday, 5 December 2011

MALARIA TB AIDS: Pakistan may downsize programmes

December 05, 2011
A meeting is likely to be held in Planning Commission on December 7 to decide the fate of National Aids Control Programme (NACP).
The meeting would also take decisions regarding downsizing and regularisation of the employees working under health sector.
The Malaria Control Programme, National TB Control Programme and Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) would also came under discussion in the meeting.
Well-placed sources told Business Recorder here on Saturday that due to the lack of funds, it has been decided that the above-mentioned health programmes would be downsized especially the NACP.
"The decision regarding regularisation of some employees working on contract basis in NACP would also to be taken in the meeting," the sources added.
Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah is likely to chair the meeting.
NACP was established in 1986-87 with focus on diagnosis of cases that came to hospitals, but progressively gained community focus.
Its objectives are the prevention of HIV transmission, safe blood transfusions, reduction of STD transmission, establishment of surveillance, training of health staff, research and behavioural studies, and development of programme management.
Pakistan is the second largest country in South Asia that stands only a few steps behind India and Nepal in terms of HIV epidemic.
Until recently Pakistan was classified as a 'low prevalence high risk' country but now Pakistan is in 'concentrated phase' of the epidemic with HIV prevalence among more than 5 percent injecting drug users (IDUs) in at least eight major cities.
Sources revealed that on the directive of the Planning Commission, the senior officials of NACP have prepared a list of 14 employees that are likely to be terminated from their jobs when the process of downsizing would be started.
After the devolution of the Health Ministry to the provinces, it was decided to devolve the National AIDS Programme and it was placed in the devolution list.
But the programme was revived on November 14 due to unknown reasons.
Now it has been decided to downsize the programme by reducing the total number of employees from 30 or 32 to 15 or 16.
The employees have not been provided their salaries for the last 5 months.
Sources said that the employees working under NACP might go for a strong protest after downsizing.

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