Govt takes steps to prevent vulnerable communities from HIV: NA told

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination Dr Nausheen Hamid on Friday said that the government has strengthened its efforts to prevent vulnerable communities in the country from carrying HIV.

Replying to a question in the National Assembly, Dr Nausheen Hamid said that the government was working along with people living with HIV in its initiatives against the disease to educate people as due to lack of awareness many affected persons were unaware about its treatment and other aspects.

She said that affected persons need lifelong treatment of this disease, but many of them avoided further treatment after improving their health conditions which is medically wrong, she added. She said that quacks were the main reason behind the spread of this disease in the country.

She said that after the spread of the disease from a doctor in Ratodero, the government had taken several measures to avoid further incidents, including establishment of a new HIV testing facility at the Taluka Headquarter Hospital in Ratodero.

She said that the government was working with partners to develop a community response plan which will engage communities at all levels to reduce prevailing stigma and discrimination and promote health education.

She added awareness and health education sessions are being organized with the involvement of community organizations and religious leaders. “Our task is to effectively address the critical gaps in preventing new HIV infections and to guarantee the health and well-being of all people living with HIV in Pakistan so that the country is not left behind in the effort to end HIV.”

She said that in order to ensure immediate access to HIV treatment, a free test facility has been offered to all those who want to have their HIV/AIDS test besides further medical assistance.

She said that the government is working closely with the provincial governments to provide on-site technical support to help local partners effectively respond to the HIV outbreak and reduce the impact of the crisis.

She said that short-term and long-term steps have been planned to identify the causes of the HIV spread, address them and strengthen the continuum of HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services.

Replying to a question, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan informed the house that the present government has adopted several measures to make positive changes in Pakistan Railways. He added out of Rs 114 billion total income generated from this sector an amount of Rs 97 billion has spent on pay and maintenance matters.

He said that after a period of 20 years, the present government has started the Karachi Circular Railway project to facilitate the citizens of Karachi. He assured that the government will improve services and address other issues related to the Hazara Express.

He said that the government has decided to run its 15 tracks under the private sector and in this regard five letters of interest have been received from the private sector.