Punjab Aids Control Programme in doldrums due to paucity of funds

By: News Desk      Published: 02:39 PM, 14 Oct, 2020
Punjab Aids Control Programme in doldrums due to paucity of funds

Punjab Aids Control Programme has hit snags as all its projects are facing a paucity of funds, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Wednesday, quoting sources.

According to the TV channel, the shortage of funds had led to non-payment of salaries to the doctors, paramedical workers and other staff.

Around 250 employees work in Punjab Aids Control Programme and they had not been paid a penny for the last three and a half months, said the sources.

As the uncertainty grows among the doctors and other staff, Project Direct Aids Control Programme Dr Muneer when contacted declined to give his reaction on the issue.

According to the statistics provided by the federal health ministry in August 2019, the number of HIV/AIDS patients in Pakistan stood at 165,000. The figures were submitted as a written response in the National Assembly session.

As per the ministry's data, the number of registered HIV-infected people in the country is 24,331 - around 15 percent and a mere fraction of the total number across Pakistan.

The ministry's records showed Punjab as having the highest number - 12,202 - of people with HIV. Sindh came second with 6,867 registered patients, while there were 2,424 registered patients in Islamabad and 2,004 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The lowest figure for registered HIV/AIDS patients, 834, was reported in Balochistan.

The National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) had also released figures in early 2019, reporting a total of 165,000 HIV-infected people in Pakistan. According to the NACP, Punjab has 75,000 HIV/AIDS cases, followed by 60,000 in Sindh, 16,322 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 5,275 in Balochistan and 6,675 in Islamabad. In addition, about 2,500 HIV/AIDS patients belong to Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The NACP data showed that more than 1,000 jailed prisoners all over the country are HIV/AIDS patients. The virus was found in 480 prisoners in Punjab, 296 prisoners in Sindh, 181 prisoners in Balochistan and 56 prisoners in K-P.

A 2017 UN report said new HIV infections and deaths were declining every year but there was growing resistance to treatment drugs.

AIDS claimed a million lives in 2016, almost half the 2005 toll that marked the peak of the deadly epidemic, said the UN report proclaiming “the scales have tipped.”

Usman Javed reported this news for 24NewsHD TV channel.