Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

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Posts Tagged ‘Prabha Devi Shrestha’

EVALUATION OF EQUIPMENT SUPPLY PROGRAM FOR AIDS CONTROL AND BLOOD TEST

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 15, 2011

By Prabha Shrestha

1.         BACKGROUND

 Cases of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) are growing rapidly in the world. According to the UNAIDS report in December 1998, 33.4 million people were HIV positive with eleven people infected every minute (JICA brochure).

 HIV/AIDS is recognized as an emerging public health problem in Nepal too.  NCASC (National Control for AIDS and STD Centre) reported 842 cases of AIDS and 3,600 HIV infections as of November 2004.  However, this data could be the tip of the iceberg due to a lack of surveillance data. UNAIDS/WHO estimated approximately 60,018 people in Nepal are living with HIV/AIDS with 2,958 AIDS related deaths in 2002.  It is possible that most of the people (60,018) living with HIV/AIDS do not know they are infected and many of them maybe engaging in unsafe sexual practices.  It is considered that there is a low disease prevalence in the general population, with a higher prevalence in various sub sets of population such as 68% in IDUs (Intravenous Drug Users) approximately 17% in Sex Workers and 4% in Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) cases (NCASC/MOH, 2003).  The consequence of inaction is that AIDS could become the leading cause of death in Nepal over coming years with a serious impact on poverty and vulnerability of the population.  Besides the negative impact on socio economic development through loss of productivity, the burden of diseases would put further stress on the health sector.

STI form a significant component of the AIDS/HIV epidemic in Nepal. Unsafe sexual behaviour contributes to a large number of HIV infections.  It is estimated that 200,000 cases of STI’s occurs annually and its prevalence in women is about 5%.  STI cases among sex workers are considerably high.  Syphilis prevalence among Sex Workers (SW) is reported to be 19% in Terai and Kathmandu with a rate of 14% in Pokhara. Similarly, syphilis prevalence is about 5% in the clients of SW (NCASC/MOH, 2004). The provision of early, correct diagnosis and effective STI treatment can not only prevent serious complications but also decrease the chance of HIV spread.  However, it is not easy to access services that provide early diagnosis and treatment in a resource poor country such as Nepal.

In order to address the above situation, HMG/Nepal adopted a National Policy for AIDS prevention with 12 key policy statements in 1995.  HIV/AIDS and STI prevention program is one of the 12 policy statements.  This policy guided NCASC to form the “National AIDS Coordination Committee” and “National AIDS Council” with participation from the government, non-government, private sector and civil society. This helps to operationalise the national policy and advocate for multisectoral participation in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  The government is committed to deliver the STI control program with the support of the External Development Partners (EDPs). Read the rest of this entry »

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