India: Driving forward an effective AIDS response
22 June 2007
“India has a prime opportunity to drive its AIDS response forward and get ahead of its epidemic,” said UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Michel Sidibe, commenting on the successful development of the country’s National AIDS Control Plan III. Currently waiting final sign off from the Indian Ministry of Health, the plan is widely recognized by national stakeholders and international development partners as being the ‘best’ national AIDS strategic plan that India has had.
“With the new plan, India has the potential to set an example for the rest of the world,” Sidibe said during a mission to the country to take stock of UNAIDS work in the country and to identify a strategy for UNAIDS, towards supporting the government, national stakeholders and development partners achieve the goals of the national plan.
With particular focus on scaling up investment on prevention activities among high risk populations, and increasing antiretroviral treatment coverage, the plan emphasizes critical involvement of community based organizations and institutions both in public and private sectors as key to its success. Creation of appropriate mechanisms and capacities at national, state and district levels to implement and monitor the interventions are also central to the plan.
With a budget of $US 2.5 billion for the next five years, the new national plan was developed through a highly inclusive participatory process, including a wide array of Indian non-governmental organizations as well as community based groups. The importance of state level action and a decentralized AIDS response is also a critical element of the plan.
“It is crucial now that all partners sustain this positive energy and momentum in the period of implementing the plan,” said Sidibe, underlining that UNAIDS would work hard to sustain commitment to action on AIDS in India, and to support implementation further through the provision of high quality, timely strategic information to all stakeholders in India.
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