New Delhi: Terming AIDS as the biggest health
challenge confronting humanity, Prime minister Manmohan Singh Monday said the Government was on the verge of devising a strategy for the next phase of national response to it and
asked ministries to formulate "HIV-sensitive" policies.
He said India`s HIV/AIDS programme can claim a measure of
success with the reduction of new infections up to 50 per cent
in 10 years, but there was no room for complacency.
Singh also pressed the international community not to
slacken its commitment in the fight against the disease.
Inaugurating a two-day National Convention of
Parliamentarians, Legislators, Zila Parishad Chairpersons and
Mayors on HIV & AIDS here, Singh said such patients should be
given a life of dignity and it should be ensured that there is
no stigma or discrimination against them and their families.
"We are on the threshold of formulating the strategy for the next phase of the national response to HIV," he said.
The Prime Minister said, "Linkages be made between the
HIV and AIDS program and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee Programme (MNREGA) to facilitate
employment of affected persons, while their nutritional needs
be tackled by linking them with ICDS and other schemes."
"Other concerned ministries should also have an HIV
sensitive policy and programme so that the marginalised
populations infected and affected by HIV and AIDS are not
denied the benefits of these schemes," he said, calling for a
multi-sectoral approach to tackle the disease.
The Convention, organised by a Forum of Parliamentarians
on HIV and AIDS, in partnership with Health and Family Welfare
Ministry and NACO, Ministries of Panchayati Raj and Urban
Development, UNAIDS and AIILSG, was also attended by Congress
president Sonia Gandhi, a host of union ministers and chief
ministers, besides legislators, ZP chairpersons and mayors.