A parliamentary panel has asked the Health Ministry to take necessary steps to speed up the process of establishing and linking anti-retroviral treatment centres for the HIV-infected across the country.
This will provide consistent access to “affordable and efficacious” medication regime for the treatment of HIV positive patients, it said.
The panel has also asked the ministry to devise a mechanism for providing an expanded access to subsidised anti-retroviral therapy for poor people, orphan and destitute children infected with HIV.
The Committee on Petitions on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in its 56th report presented in Parliament asked the ministry to apprise it within three months about the steps taken.
“Keeping in view the urgent need for the affordable treatment of HIV positive patients in the country, the committee reiterates its earlier recommendation and urges the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to strengthen its network and take necessary steps to speed up the process of establishing new public-private partnership anti- retroviral treatment centres,” it said.
The panel, chaired by Bhagat Singh Koshyari, also suggested linking anti-retroviral treatment centres all over the country in a time bound manner.
The committee said it had appreciated the Union Health Ministry for its efforts in providing consistent access to affordable and efficacious medication regime for the treatment of HIV positive patients.
However, the committee had urged the government for devising a mechanism for providing an expanded access to subsidised anti-retroviral therapy for the poor people, orphan and destitute children and poor people infected with HIV.
“The committee is astonished to note from the reply of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that even after a lapse of more than a year, there are only 22 PPP anti-retroviral centres established in private hospitals across the country and scaling up of the same is still under process.
“Basically, there are two very important things which do not allow the HIV positive patients to get their right treatment and that too at the right clinic, i.e., (i) financial requirement; and (ii) inability of HIV positive patients to afford medication,” it said.
The panel also asked the ministry to make efforts to formulate a scheme to extend financial assistance to HIV/AIDS patients “at the earliest”.
The committee noted that it is “imperative” to keep this issue as the primary agenda of the government to “explicitly” exhibit their keenness for the welfare of the HIV patients in the country.
It said it should be done so that the patients do not feel neglected and be able to channelise their energy and resources to overcome the physical and psychological trauma due to long-drawn treatment.