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Meeting of Programme Managers HIV/AIDS to revise the SAARC regional strategy on HIV/AIDS (2012-16)
 
SAARC Secretariat is organizing a three days meeting of Programme Managers HIV/AIDS to revise the SAARC regional strategy on HIV/AIDS (2012-16) here in Islamabad. Delegates from SAARC member states (Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanks, NGOs and UN agencies participated in the meeting. The meeting started on 15 June 2012 and will continue till 17 June 2012. The meeting was chaired by Secretary, Ministry of IPC Mr. Anees-ul-Hasnain Mosavi. The Secretary appreciated the SAARC initiative to tackle the spread of deadly disease and highlighted the strategic dimensions of an effective strategy. Other dignitaries include Director SAARC (SAARC secretariat) Mr. Ibrahim Zuhuree, Director SAARC TB & HIV/AIDS Centre Dr. Kashi Kant Jha, Director SAARC Division, Foreign affairs and National Programme Manager AIDS Control Programme Dr. Qazi Mujtaba Kamal, Pakistan. Dr. Qazi emphasized the needs to address the cross borders issues in the regions related to HIV. The objectives of the meeting are to review the existing SAARC Regional Strategy on HIV/AIDS and to develop the SAARC Strategy on HIV/AIDS (2012-2016). This will help to bring the SAARC members state on a platform to prevent HIV in the region.
                                                                                                                                                                                           Pictures Gallery
 
 
NACP organizes an HIV & AIDS Awareness/Advocacy Session with Religious Leaders (June)
 
The National Communication (BCC) team organized an orientation session with the teaching faculty and students at Madrassa Taleem-ul-Quran wa Babul-Islam, F-7 Markaz, Islamabad on June 7, 2011. The main aim of the session was to engage religious leaders in HIV & AIDS prevention campaigns, to improve their perception, knowledge and practice regarding HIV & AIDS issues and sexually transmitted infections so that they can play their due role in raising awareness among the general public.

Mulana Ghulam ul Hassan welcomed the participants and said, all religions provide guidance in moral matters and offer the best values and methods to deal with many social and economic aspects of human life, he further stressed to spread the basic information about preventive methods to religious leaders that they can convey to the general public.

Mulana Abdul Qudoos Muhammadi, Khateeb Jamia Masjid Chak Shehzad, Islamabad briefed the participants that whenever HIV & AIDS is discussed, sex and sex related subjects should also be discussed as these are inter-related. He said that Islam declares human life as a gift of Allah and encourages us to study ways to preserve our own and other’s lives. He highlighted the fact that a balanced Islamic approach does not stop us from discussing sex and sex related subjects. He also added that from an educational point of view, it is necessary for us to realize that promoting awareness among the public can be done without showing obscene material. Sex education activities should be conducted in a decent manner. Mulana Abdul Qudoos explained when the Prophet (PBUH) was alive, Muslims did not hesitate or feel embarrassed to seek guidance from him (PBUH), regarding matters related to marital life and the mutual rights of husband and wife.

Mr. Muhammad Arif Bashir, Counselor, NACP briefed the participants about the background of HIV, current scenario in Pakistan, risk factors, modes of transmission and the preventive measures.

Reflecting on the routes of transmission of HIV, he said, unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person, transfusion of infected blood/blood products, sharing of infected needles/syringes, from infected mother to the baby and silence over this syndrome is creating more serious issues to overcome HIV & AIDS in Pakistan.

He explained the role of NACP comprehensively in prevention of HIV & AIDS from becoming established in vulnerable populations and spreading to the general adult population. For this purpose, NACP controls and reverse the spread of HIV among the most at risk groups and it keeps the epidemic from establishing among the bridging groups and the general population, it also helps in creating an environment in the country where People Living with HIV (PLHIV) can access medical and social services.

Regarding stigma and discrimination he said, lack of understanding of the disease, myths about how HIV is transmitted, prejudice, lack of treatment, irresponsible media reporting on the epidemic, social fears about sexuality and fears relating to illness and death is common among general population. The lecture was followed by question and answer session and ended with a vote of thanks.
 
 
NACP Holds Speech Competition.
 
In continuation with World AIDS Day activities, the Enhanced HIV & AIDS Control Programme (Federal Component) in collaboration with UNESCO organized a speech contest at College of Medical Technology, National Institute of Health, Islamabad on June 13, 2011. The main objective of this activity was to update and highlight the participants on the burning issues of HIV & AIDS.

Speech contest started with the recitation from Holy Quran followed by Naat Sharif. Seven students from different educational institutes participated in the speech contest and delivered their speeches on HIV/AIDS and concerns related to it. The names of speakers were Rabia Fatima, Mehak Nimra, Muhammad Shoaib, Aamna Kosar, Faseha Jamil, Muhammad Irfan and Imran Yaseen. The speakers highlighted signs & symptoms of HIV/AIDS, difference between HIV and AIDS, routes of transmission of HIV/AIDS, stigma and discrimination, its preventive measures, testing of HIV/AIDS and role of NACP in providing free treatment and care services at fifteen (15) treatment centers throughout the country. In the contest, Muhammad Irfan, Aamna Kosar and Faseha Jamil were adjudged first, second and third respectively.

Dr. Amir Maqbool, Senior Program Officer, NACP was the Chief Guest. He appreciated the efforts of students of CMLT and observed that holding such kind of activities provide a good opportunity for the Programme to increase the understanding of STI/HIV and AIDS vulnerabilities and risk behaviors among youth. A large number of participants attended the event while Principal of CMLT Dr. Hussain appreciated the efforts of NACP in creating awareness regarding HIV/AIDS among youth. Prizes were also distributed among the speakers. On this event NACP arranged an Information, Education and Communication stall which was appreciated by the participants.
 
 
NACP organizes an Awareness/Orientation Session with School Teachers (June)
 
The National Communication (BCC) team organized an orientation session for teachers of Kid City School,(KCS) Model Town Humak, Islamabad. The session was held in KCS Hall, on June 16, 2011. The objectives of the session were to improve the understanding of HIV & AIDS epidemic in the country and the dimensions of the disease itself by informing about the epidemiology, modes of transmission and prevention of HIV & AIDS and to promote adoption of safe behaviors among participants. AIDS Control Programme (NACP) Behavior Change Ms. Nayyab Azizi, NACP, chaired the session and briefed the participants about the background of HIV, its current scenario in Pakistan, risk factors, modes of transmission and the preventive measures. 'Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person, transfusion of infected blood/blood products, sharing of infected needles/syringes, from infected mother to the baby and silence over this syndrome is creating more serious issues to overcome HIV & AIDS in Pakistan'. She said.

Furthermore, she explained the role of NACP comprehensively in prevention of HIV & AIDS from becoming established in vulnerable populations and spreading to the general adult population. For this purpose, NACP controls and reverse the spread of HIV among the most at risk groups and it keeps the epidemic from establishing among the bridging groups and the general population, it also helps in creating an environment in the country where People Living with HIV (PLHIV) can access medical and social services.

The Principal of KCS, Ms. Obaida Shaheen appreciated the role of NACP for conducting awareness sessions and providing HIV treatment & testing services free of cost across the country, the session was ended with the vote of thanks.
 
 
NACP organizes an Awareness/Orientation Session with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Airport functionaries.
 
The National Communication (BCC) team organized an orientation session with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Airport functionaries. The session was held in CAA conference room, Benazir Bhutto International Airport on May 17, 2011. The objectives of session were to improve the understanding of HIV & AIDS epidemic in the country and the dimensions of the disease itself by informing about the AIDS Control Programme (NACP) Behavior Change epidemiology, modes of transmission and prevention of HIV & AIDS and to promote adoption of safe behaviors among participants.

Ms. Nayyab Azizi, NACP presided over the session and briefed the participants about the background of HIV, its current scenario in Pakistan, risk factors, modes of transmission and the preventive measures.

Reflecting on the routes of transmission of HIV, Nayyab Azizi said, unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person, transfusion of infected blood/blood products, sharing of infected needles/syringes, from infected mother to the baby and silence over this syndrome is creating more serious issues to overcome HIV & AIDS in Pakistan.

She explained the role of NACP comprehensively in prevention of HIV & AIDS from becoming established in vulnerable populations and spreading to the general adult population. For this purpose, NACP controls and reverse the spread of HIV among the most at risk groups and it keeps the epidemic from establishing among the bridging groups and the general population, it also helps in creating an environment in the country where People Living with HIV (PLHIV) can access medical and social services.

Regarding stigma and discrimination she said, lack of understanding of the disease, myths about how HIV is transmitted, prejudice, lack of treatment, irresponsible media reporting on the epidemic, social fears about sexuality and fears relating to illness and death is common among general population.

Question answer session took place at the end. The participants appreciated the role of NACP for awareness sessions, prevention services and providing HIV treatment & testing services free of cost across the country.
 
 
NACP organizes an HIV & AIDS Awareness/Advocacy Session with School Teachers.
 
The Enhanced HIV & AIDS Control Programme (Federal Component) Behavior change Communication (BCC) team organized an orientation session with the school teachers. The session was held at Educators School, Rawalpindi on May 12, 2011 and was largely attended by the school principal, teachers and staff. The main objectives of the session were to engage school teachers in HIV & AIDS prevention campaigns, to improve their perception, knowledge and practice regarding HIV & AIDS issues and sexually transmitted infections so that they can play their due role in raising awareness among the general public.

Mr. Muhammad Arif Bashir, Counselor, NACP chaired the session. Speaking on the occasion he briefed the participants about the HIV current scenario in Pakistan, risk factors, modes of transmission and the preventive measures. He highlighted the role of teachers in raising awareness about HIV & AIDS. Mr. Arif also said that inadequate Safe Blood Transfusion Practices, unsafe injection practices and silence over this syndrome is creating more serious issues to overcome HIV & AIDS in Pakistan. The participants took keen interest in HIV treatment and testing services which are available free of cost throughout the country. At the end of the session, the school Principal appreciated and acknowledged NACP for organizing the said awareness session.
 
 
NACP organizes an HIV & AIDS Awareness/Advocacy Session with Religious Leaders.
 
The Enhanced HIV & AIDS Control Programme (Federal Component) Behavior Change Communication (BCC) team organized an orientation session with the teaching faculty and final year students. The session was held at Jamia Masjid wa Madrassa Madni, I-8/4 Islamabad on May 10, 2011 and more than 60 students attended the session. The main objectives of the session were to engage religious leaders in HIV & AIDS prevention campaigns, to improve their perception, knowledge and practice regarding HIV & AIDS issues and sexually transmitted infections so that they can play their due role in raising awareness among the general public.

After recitation from the Holy Quran, Mulana Obaidullah, Teacher, Jamia Masjid wa Madrassa Madni, I-8/4 Islamabad welcomed the participants. He said that all religions provide guidance in moral matters and offer the best values and methods to deal with many social and economic aspects of human life. Mulana Obaidullah emphasized that in order to control the spread of the disease; religious leaders must be given basic information about preventive methods that they can relay to the general public.

Mulana Abdul Qudus Muhammadi, Khateeb Jamia Masjid Chak Shehzad, Islamabad briefed the participants that whenever HIV & AIDS is discussed, sex and sex related subjects should also be discussed as these are inter-related. He said that Islam declares human life as a gift of Allah and encourages us to study ways to preserve our own and other’s lives. He highlighted the fact that a balanced Islamic approach does not stop us from discussing sex and sex related subjects. He also added that from an educational point of view, it is necessary for us to realize that promoting awareness among the public can be done without showing obscene material. Sex education activities should be conducted in a decent manner. Mulana Abdul Qudus explained when the Prophet (PBUH) was alive, Muslims did not hesitate or feel embarrassed to seek guidance from him (PBUH), regarding matters related to marital life and the mutual rights of husband and wife.

Mr. Muhammad Arif Bashir, Counselor NACP delivered a lecture on HIV & AIDS prevention and control response in Pakistan. Speaking on the occasion he explained HIV & AIDS epidemic state and national response in detail. He said inadequate Safe Blood Transfusion Practices, unsafe injection practices and silence over this syndrome is creating more serious issues to overcome HIV & AIDS in Pakistan. Mr. Arif also presented to the participants, examples of Muslim countries of Africa to highlight how the religious leaders had played positive role by supporting the efforts of their governments and raising awareness among general population to control the deadly epidemic. The lecture was followed by question and answer session and ended with a vote of thanks.
 
 
NACP & UN Women signs MoU.
 
The Enhanced HIV & AIDS Control Programme (Federal Component) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on April 28, 2011 with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to enhance strategic coordination and collaboration on gender and HIV & AIDS.

Dr. Amir Maqbool, Acting National Programme Manager of EHACP, and Alice Shackelford, Country Programme Director of UN Women, signed the MoU. The purpose of this MoU is to maximize the cooperation and coordination of the partners to ensure the implementation of the national commitments on gender equality and women’s right. The key focus is around institutionalization of gender in the HIV response includes ‘Focus on the linkages between Violence Against Women and HIV and AIDS’, ‘Enhanced capacity building around the rights of positive and affected women and other vulnerable women and girls’, ‘Provision of technical assistance to NACP and PACPs to reinforce gender perspective in the National Strategic Framework and strengthen gender aspects in Global Fund proposal in current and future rounds through provincial consultations’.

The MOU will help to formalize the ongoing cooperative relationship between NACP and UN WOMEN in order to expedite the HIV response from a gender perspective, and to facilitate technical assistance, cooperation, consultation, and effective communication between NACP and the UN Women.

Alice Shackelford anticipated that the collaboration will produce productive results through institutionalization and mainstreaming of HIV response in Pakistan among women ministries and line ministries.

Dr. Samia Hashim, Senior National Programme Officer, UNAIDS appreciated the efforts of UN Women and NACP to strengthen and support the National AIDS response from the gender lens.
 
 
NACP holds meeting with UNODC.
 
The Enhanced HIV & AIDS Control Programme (Federal Component) conducted a meeting with UNODC in EHACP office on April 29, 2011. The objectives of meeting were to discuss the stigma & discrimination issues regarding HIV positive jail inmates, dealing with HIV positive prisoners in the jail premises and to develop a strategy for the treatment, care and support of HIV positive prisoners in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi. Dr. Aamir Maqbool, Acting National Programme Manger, EHACP chaired the meeting and was attended by Mr. Naeem Akhtar Malik, BCC Coordinator, Dr. Sofia Furqan, Senior Programme Officer, Mr. Muhammad Arif Bashir, Counselor, NACP, Dr. Nadeem Rehman, Drug & HIV Advisor, and Ms. Nabeela Nisar, Programme Officer, UNODC.

Dr. Aamir Maqbool welcomed the participants and highlighted the objectives of the meeting. Dr. Nadeem Rehman gave a brief overview of the activities of the UNODC carried out for Jail inmates throughout the country under the project titled 'HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care for female prisoners in Pakistan'. He further explained that this project is especially for female IDUs prisoners and their families but UNODC will support NACP for advocacy/orientation sessions for Higher Authorities, Officials, HIV positive prisoners, Teachers, Khateeb and life sentenced prisoners both male and female. During the meeting it was decided “for implementation of proposed activities in Adiala Jail, the NACP will share a list of NGOs working on HIV & AIDS with UNODC. Out of these NGOs, two will be short listed for presentation. On the basis of these presentations, one NGO will be selected to carry out agreed activities. Pictorial Information Education and Communication (IEC) material with messages on HIV & AIDS will be developed by the successful NGO. The said material will be distributed among prisoners and displayed in male and female jail barracks. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks.
 
 
NACP participates in Quaidian Spring Festival, 2011.
 
Quaid-i-Azam University Alumni Association (QAUAA), Islamabad organized a special event with the name of “Quaidian spring festival, 2011” at Football Ground, University Campus, Islamabad on April 28, 2011. The objective of this event was to raise funds for the needy students of the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. NACP participated in the occasion by setting up Information, Education and Communication (IEC) stall with material on HIV & AIDS information. During the activity, messages through multimedia for raising awareness on HIV & AIDS among the general public and youth were also disseminated. The objective of participating was to raise awareness on HIV & AIDS among the youth, students, teachers, general public and participants. NACP’s contribution was very well received and appreciated by the participants especially youth and students.
 
 
NACP organizes an HIV & AIDS Awareness/Advocacy Session with Religious Leaders (April)
 
The Enhanced HIV & AIDS Control Programme (Federal Component) Behavior Change Communication (BCC) team organized an orientation session with the religious teaching faculty and students at Jamia Madni Masjid I.9/4 Islamabad on April 28, 2011. The main objective of the session was to engage religious leaders in HIV & AIDS prevention campaigns, to improve their perception, knowledge and practice regarding HIV & AIDS issues and sexually transmitted infections so that they can play their due role in raising awareness among the general public and youth.

Mulana Shabbir Hussain, Muhtamim, Jamia Madni Masjid welcomed the participants and said that all religions provide guidance in moral matters and offer the best values and methods to deal with many social and economic aspects of human life. He stressed to spread the basic information regarding prevention of HIV/AIDS to religious leaders so that they can convey the same to the general public and youth.

Mulana Abdul Qudoos Muhammadi, Khateeb Jamia Masjid Chak Shahzad, Islamabad briefed the participants that whenever HIV & AIDS is discussed, safe sex practices regarding HIV/AIDS and STIs prevention should also be discussed as these are inter-related. He said that Islam declares human life as a gift of Allah and encourages us to study ways to preserve our own and other's lives. He also added that from an educational point of view, it is necessary for us to realize that promoting awareness regarding HIV/AIDS among the public can be done without showing obscene material. Sex education activities should be conducted in accordance with our social and religious values. Mulana Abdul Qudoos explained when the Prophet (PBUH) was alive, Muslims did not hesitate or feel embarrassed to seek guidance from him (PBUH), regarding matters related to marital life and the mutual rights of husband and wife.

Mr. Muhammad Arif Bashir, Counselor NACP delivered a lecture on HIV & AIDS prevention and control response in Pakistan. He explained the present HIV & AIDS epidemic status and national response in detail. He said that unsafe Blood Transfusion and Injection practices are major hurdles in overcoming HIV & AIDS in Pakistan. Mr. Arif also explained the participants, by quoting examples of Muslim countries of Africa, how the religious leaders had played positive role by supporting the efforts of their governments and raising awareness among general population to control HIV/AIDS. During the session information, education and communication material was also distributed among the participants. The lecture was followed by question and answer session and ended with a vote of thanks, especially the support of religious community in controlling the spreading of HIV/AIDS in Pakistan.
 
 
NACP organizes an HIV & AIDS Awareness/Advocacy Session with School Teachers (April)
 
The National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) Behavior Change Communication (BCC) team organized an orientation session with the college faculty. The session was held at Islamabad Model College for Girls G- 10/2 Islamabad on April 26, 2011. The main objective of the session was to engage school lecturers/teachers in HIV & AIDS prevention campaigns, to improve their perception, knowledge and practice regarding HIV & AIDS issues and sexually transmitted infections so that they can play their due role in raising awareness among the students, youth and general public.

Mr. Muhammad Arif Bashir, Counselor, NACP chaired the session. He briefed the participants about the HIV current scenario in Pakistan, risk factors, modes of transmission and the preventive measures. Mr. Arif also briefed that inadequate safe blood transfusion practices, unsafe injection practices and silence over this syndrome is creating more serious issues to overcome HIV & AIDS in Pakistan.

The participants appreciated the role of NACP for providing HIV treatment, care, support and testing services free of cost across the country. During the session information, education and communication material was also distributed among the participants. At the end of the session, the Vice Principal of the college Mrs. Parveen Irshad acknowledged NACP for organizing the said awareness session.
 
 
TWO DAYS MEETINGS ON FUTURE OF HIV TREATMENT, CARE AND SUPPORT IN POST DEVOLUTION PHASE.
 
Two days workshop was organized by NACP in collaboration with support of World Health Organization (WHO) from April 20 – 21, 2011 at NACP office. The objectives of this meeting were to initiate smooth transition of responsibilities for continuum of existing HIV care and treatment services and to provide guidance to PACPs on strategies for sustainable and expanded access to HIV Care and Treatment using a continuum of care approach after devolution. In addition, the way forward with regard to planning for increasing coverage of HIV care and treatment of PLHIV in need was also discussed taking into account the findings and recommendations of Evaluation of HIV care and treatment services in Pakistan. This meeting was attended by all the stakeholders including all Provincial Programme Managers, Officials from Ministry of Health, donor agencies and representatives from civil society organizations.
 
 
NACP organizes an HIV & AIDS Awareness/Advocacy Session with Media Health Reporters (March)
 
The National AIDS Control Programme organized an advocacy session with health reporters on March 31, 2011 at the NACP office. The objectives of this session were to share the achieved targets, to enable participants to understand the importance of responsible attitude of the media towards HIV & AIDS especially with regards to stigma and discrimination and to develop a mechanism for active and continual involvement of media personnel for prevention and control of HIV & AIDS epidemic in the country.

Dr. Amir Maqbool Senior Medical Officer, NACP welcomed the participants. In his welcome address he apprised the participants about HIV & AIDS Prevention and Control Response in Pakistan. Speaking on the occasion he explained the HIV/AIDS epidemic state, National Response, Post 18th Amendment Scenario and Challenges in detail.

He discussed all four phases of Enhanced HIV/AIDS control program and challenges faced by NACP due to funding constraints with all the participants. he said, “In India more than 80% of the funds for their HIV/AIDS program are managed by Government while 20% by the donors, but in Pakistan 80% of the funds are provided by donors to HIV/AIDS program while government provides rest of 20%. NACP needs an increase in funds by Pakistani Government in order to sustain the ongoing activities in future.

At the end of the presentation, Dr. Amir Maqbool concluded with these remarks, “Despite the financial constraints, NACP is doing its best in providing antiretroviral therapy, voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services and management of acute/chronic care of HIV/AIDS related infections to the people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS all over the country.

Mr. Naeem Akhter, BCC Coordinator NACP gave detailed presentation to the health reporters about the current Behavior Change Communication activities and recent achievements of the NACP. Regarding achievements he updated the media about organizing awareness sessions with school teachers, religious leaders and peer education for intervention for Female Sex Workers (FSWs), monthly visit to Adiala jail, Rawalpindi regarding treatment, care and support of HIV/AIDS jail inmates, care and support package for HIV positive people living in flood affected districts with UN System support were also included in the targets achieved by NACP. He also briefed the media about the Round-4 surveillance project conducted by HASP (HIV/AIDS Surveillance Project).
 
 
Four Days Mapping Workshop at Karachi
 
The National AIDS Control Programme and HASP organized a four day training workshop on mapping techniques in Karachi from 26th of February to 1st of March 2011. The objective of this workshop was to enhance the participants capacity and theoretical and practical competencies in field, as well as documentation for mapping of most at risk populations. The workshop started with recitation from the Holy Quran and welcome address by Dr. Simon, Country Director HASP. This was followed by an ice breaking session lead by Dr. Faran, who first asked the participants to introduce themselves turn by turn & then outlined the workshop activities including ground rules, expectations, which were jotted down and kept to revisit on the last day. He also explained to the participants, the basic terms related to HIV & AIDS and mapping techniques.

The Chief Guest, Dr. Asad Hafeez, Director General, Ministry of Health, shared thoughtful and important information about Pakistans existing health policies with special reference to HIV & AIDS situation and future challenges facing the Pakistani health authorities. He especially emphasized the role of community based public health research in future for the development of effective health strategies.

After that Dr. Suleman briefed about the existing situation in Pakistan regarding HIV and most at risk populations. Mr. Siddique Mohiuddin discussed about communication and interviewing skills with the participants. Dr. Faran and Dr. Tahira discussed, with the help of role play, pre-mapping preparations, theoretical and practical implications of level one and level two formats, datacollation, data entry, field activities, gender and rights issues in field, risk mitigation strategies, field monitoring, field plan and time line using maps of identified cities, and the overall monitoring plans. During the workshop the participants were sent to the field for conducting the interviews on training and pre-testing of formats. After field visit, the participants discussed their experiences, problems and issues threadbare. The concluding session was presided by Syed Hashim Raza Zaidi, Secretary Health, Government of Sindh. At the end, certificates were distributed among all participants.
 
 
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan Mission visits NACP
 
The National AIDS Control Program organized a presentation on the request of Mr. Intisar A. Siddiqui, Coordinator, Health Care Systems Management Program, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan on March 17, 2011 at the NACP, Islamabad. Dr. Amir Maqbool Senior Medical Officer, NACP delivered an all-encompassing presentation on HIV & AIDS prevention and control response in Pakistan. Speaking on the occasion, he explained HIV & AIDS epidemic state, national response, four phases of Enhanced HIV & AIDS control program, challenges faced by the NACP due to funding constraints, post 18th amendment scenario and challenges in detail. He highlighted that Pakistan is currently in a concentrated phase of the epidemic, with IDUs, Hijras and FSWs being the key most-at-risk groups. Dr. Amir also described the low levels of literacy and awareness about HIV & AIDS among general public as key hindrances. High number of Most at Risk Populations (MARPs), strong sexual networks among MARPs and highly vulnerable youth are at a risk of getting into this dreadful disease. Inadequate safe Blood Transfusion Practices, unsafe injection practices and silence over this syndrome is creating more serious issues to overcome HIV & AIDS in Pakistan.

At the end of the presentation, Dr. Amir Maqbool concluded with these remarks Despite the financial constraints, NACP is doing its best in providing antiretroviral therapy, voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services and management of acute/chronic care of HIV & AIDS related infections to the people living with and affected by HIV & AIDS all over the country. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks and presentation of shield by the Health Care Systems Management Coordinator followed by a group photo.
 
 
Meeting on HIV Synthesis , Pakistan
 
A meeting on the development of a synthesis of the HIV situation and response in Pakistan was held with a mission of three experts from Johns Hopkins University and the World Bank on March 14, 2011 at NACP office. The mission is supported by the WB and UNAIDS through the Joint UN Team on AIDS. Dr. Sajid Ahmad, National Programme Manager, NACP chaired the meeting. The objectives of meeting were to prepare for data collection on HIV situation, response by identifying relevant sources of data and a timeline for the mission activities. Dr. Chris Beyrer and Dr. Sonal Singh, Johns Hopkins University, Ms. Iris Semini, WB, Dr. Mohammad Imran, Mr. Naeem Akhtar and Dr. Naveda Shabbir, NACP and Dr. Simon Azariah, Dr. Faran Emmanuel, Dr. Nosheen Dar, HASP attended the meeting.

Dr. Sajid Ahmad welcomed the participants. He briefed about current situation and scenario by underlining the importance of funding by WB and other donors for continuity of an effective response. He said that over past several years the major funding partner of the project has been WB i.e. 80% of the funds for the Enhanced Program were made available by WB. However, after the 2010 flood catastrophe WB diverted its funding to the flood victims and rehabilitation activates. Consequently, NACP is facing problems in continuation of its ongoing projects. Dr. Sajid Ahmad also appreciated the UNAIDS for its role in the preparations of the national strategic framework and assured to provide all sort of information essential for the teams activities. During the meeting Dr. Muhammad Imran presented a concise background of the NACP, its role in prevention and control of HIV & AIDS throughout the country. He also briefed the participants about the strategic planning so far undertaken by the NACP and the possible data sources available for further comprehensive strategic planning under NSF III. Surveillance and research activities of HASP were explained by Dr. Faran Emmanuel.

Dr. Chris Beyrer emphasized on the importance of Provincial and District data, especially for addressing geographical variations in terms of HIV & AIDS prevention and control response. He also stressed on collecting CD4 data of HIV & AIDS to be more precise in scrutinizing the program. On the occasion Dr. Simon Azariah suggested that the mission may also contact to non-government organizations to gather more information in this regard.
 
 
NACP participates in SBM Sports Fiesta, 2011
 
School of Business & Management, (SBM) organized a nationwide SBM Sports Fiesta, 2011 at Sports Complex Islamabad from March 4 to 6, 2011. The objective of this event was to raise awareness on HIV & AIDS among the youth, students, teachers, general public and participants. The NACP participated in the event by setting up Information, Education and Communication (IEC) stall with material on HIV & AIDS information. During the event, messages through multimedia for raising awareness on HIV & AIDS among the general public and youth were also disseminated. NACP’s contribution was very well received and appreciated by the participants especially youth.
 
 
Visit of the National HIV and Retrovirology Laboratory, Ottawa, Canada
 
Dr. Nadeem Ikram, Manager Serology, HIV Referral Lab NACP visited the National HIV and Retrovirology Laboratory, Ottawa, Canada from January 30 to February 12, 2011. It is one of the ISO 15189 Standard Medical Laboratories, accredited Lab in Canada. Dr. Paul Sandstrom, Director Lab, showed around the lab. The Lab constitutes different departments organized for HIV diagnostics and research, including quality management systems, HIV genetics, reference services and molecular epidemiology.

The quality management system is responsible for the management of the Canadian CD4 quality assessment programme as well as Quality Assessment and Standardization of Immunological measures relative to HIV & AIDS (QASI), an international quality assessment programme for CD4 enumeration in many countries. The lab also provides HIV and Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus serology and molecular reference services. It also provides external quality assurance in HIV serology both nationally and internationally. Department of genetics performs HIV strains and maintains drug resistance surveillance programme.

He also visited the National Microbiology Laboratory at Winnipeg. This lab has facility for containment level 3 and level 4 designed for working with highly pathogenic agents. The lab is responsible for reference microbiology and quality assurance, surveillance for infectious diseases, emergency outbreak and preparedness response and research.
 
 
Technical Working Group Meeting on HIV Treatment and Care
 
A technical working group meeting regarding HIV treatment and care was held on January 27, 2011 at NACP office. This meeting was attended by the technical working group members from NACP, UNICEF, UNAIDS, WHO and CRS. Meeting was chaired by Dr. Sajid Ahmad, NPM, NACP. A detailed dialogue was done on HIV Treatment Care needs forecasting till December 2012, including CD4/Viral Load kits and antiretroviral medicines. A committee was constituted for procurement of CD4/Viral Load machine (GF R-9) and all partners agreed upon exploration of interim funds for HIV treatment continuity on priority basis.
 
 
NACP participates in Programme of Sensitization Seminar at AFIP Rawalpindi
 
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) Rawalpindi organized a one day Sensitization seminar under the project titled Scaling up HIV Prevention in the Pakistan Uniformed Personnel on February 17, 2011 at conference room, AFIP Rawalpindi. Dr. Aamir Maqbool, Senior Medical Officer, NACP gave a presentation on National response to HIV/AIDS at the seminar. Maj. General Farooq Ahmad Khan, Commandant AFIP gave the welcome address in the said seminar. Other speakers on the occasion were Brig Agha Babar Hussain, Project Manager/Head of Virology Dept, AFIP, Brig Mamoona Mushtaq, Gynaecologist, CMH, Lt. Col. Ejaz Ghani, Virologist, AFIP and Lt. Col. Tariq Ashraf, Community Medicine Specialist, Army Medical College Rawalpindi. The speakers highlighted the emerging trends of HIV infection, Reproductive Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Treatment, Care and Support of HIV/AIDS patients and Gender issues. The presentations were followed by question and answer session.
 
 
NACP organizes an HIV & AIDS Awareness Session for Teachers
 
The National AIDS Control Programme organized an awareness session on HIV & AIDS for school teachers on February 15, 2011 at Educators School, Fazal Town, Chaklala, Rawalpindi. Dr. Naveeda Shabbir, Programme Officer, NACP chaired the session. Speaking on the occasion she briefed the participants about the HIV current scenario in Pakistan, risk factors and the preventive measures. She also highlighted the role of teachers in raising awareness about HIV & AIDS. The session was largely attended by the school teachers and staff. The participants took keen interest in HIV treatment and testing services which are available free of cost throughout the country. At the end of the session, the School Principal appreciated and acknowledged the NACP for organizing the said awareness session.
 
 
Four Days Training of Trainers (ToT) on Peer Education for Interventions relating to FSWs
 
The National AIDS Control Programme in collaboration with Family Health International, Islamabad organized a four days training of trainers on peer education for interventions relating to Female Sex Workers (FSWs) at Park Plaza Hotel, Lahore from November 23 – 26, 2010. The training was designed to strengthen/enhance the knowledge of peer educators and build their skills in communication and facilitation. Peer Educators from different NGOs working for FSWs interventions in Punjab and Khyber Pukhtunkhwah (KPK) participated in the training.

Dr. Syed Hasan Raza, Country Director FHI, Islamabad during his welcome remarks mentioned that the training will further polish the already existing talent of the participants and enables them to carry out their tasks with newly acquired skills and augmented knowledge.

Dr. Salman Shahid, Provincial Program Manager, Punjab AIDS Control Program /Chair of the inaugural session opened the meeting and welcomed the participants. He expressed that the training would go a long way in bringing about a positive change in the knowledge, skills and practices of the Peer Educators and that they would impart training to their peers in the field in an effective manner.

Dr. Sajid Ahmed National Program Manager NACP also joined the pre-lunch session of the workshop. He said that NACP is working with different high risk groups to prevent STIs and HIV/AIDS. He mentioned that the role of Peer Educators is of utmost importance in bringing about a positive change and awareness among target populations. He further said that the health of marginalized population is as important as that of general population.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Sajid Ahmad appreciated the keen interest of the participants in the workshop contents and said that one has to be bold and open to combat HIV/AIDS effectively. There should be no stigma attached to sex workers as they are more vulnerable to HIV & AIDS. He further said that the ToT was delivered by women facilitators so that the peer educators could feel ease during the session and clarify things with confidence. He stressed that now it was the duty of the trained participants to practice and further disseminate the knowledge and skills they have achieved from the training workshop.

Dr. Sajid Ahmad thanked Dr. Syed Hasan Raza, Country Director FHI, Dr. Rajwal Khan, Deputy Programme Manager and Dr. Wazir Akbar, Programme Officer, PACP KPK, Dr. Shahima, HIV Manager, FATA and Dr. Nasir Sarfraz, Programme Officer UNAIDS Punjab who attended the closing ceremony.
 
 
Orientation Session with Religious Leaders
 
The NACP organized an orientation session with the prominent religious leaders in collaboration with Inter Religious Council for Health (IRCH). The session was chaired by Dr. Sajid Ahmad, the National Programme Manager NACP. The chair highlighted the role of religious leaders in prevention and control of HIV & AIDS and appreciated their efforts in this regard. Mr. Naeem Akhtar, the BCC Coordinator briefed about the role of religious leaders in raising awareness about HIV & AIDS. Maulana Abdul Qadoos Muhammadi, the Joint Secretary IRCH and Maulana Shamashudin, the Khateeb of Jamia Masjad Bilal, 6th road Rawalpindi also spoke on the occasion. They mentioned that religious leaders have started speaking on HIV & AIDS in their Juma sermons. The session was followed by a detailed interactive Q & A session.
 
 
Ensuring Universal Access for Children at Risk for and Affected by HIV and AIDS in Pakistan- Guidelines Launching Ceremony
 
The NACP launched the -National Guidelines for the Care and Support of Children Affected by HIV and AIDS in Pakistan- which is first-of-its kind guideline in Pakistan and reflects NACPs commitment to ensure care and support for children affected by HIV and AIDS.

As espoused by the World AIDS Day 2010 theme 'Universal Access and Human Rights', the Government of Pakistan is committed to providing equal access to life-saving medications and testing and care services to HIV positive children in the country. The guidelines were developed by the National AIDS Control Programme in collaboration with the National Commission for Child Welfare and Development with the support of UNICEF and Family Health International.

Dr. Sajid Ahmad, the National Programme Manager NACP chaired the launching ceremony of the guidelines. Commenting on the guidelines, he said “it is an expression of our commitment and determination to face HIV and AIDS not only as medical and health problem, but also to address them as cultural, social and economic issues which affect all sectors of our society including children”. On the occasion, Ms. Bettina T. Schunter, the HIV Specialist at UNICEF Pakistan said that the rate of HIV infection among the general population in Pakistan is still below one per cent. This figure could increase dramatically if unified actions are not taken to put the preventive measures in place to keep the killer disease in check.
 
 
NACP participates in Consultative Meeting for National Education Festival
 
A consultation meeting of stakeholders to plan National Education Festival Knowledge City was held on December 7, 2010 in the Curriculum Wing, Ministry of Education. Mr. Muhammad Arif Bashir, Counselor, NACP attended the said meeting.

Ministry of Education is organizing a week on National Education Festival Knowledge City to be held on 21 to 28 January, 2011 at Sports Complex, Islamabad. The objectives of this event are to share and highlight the efforts being made for promotion of education in the national perspective. The said activity will be attended by policy makers, managers, donors, students and their parents.
 
 
2-Days Voluntary Counseling & Testing Workshop
 
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with Family Health International (FHI) organized a two day training workshop on “Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT)” from November 10 – 11, 2010 in Heritage Guest House, Islamabad. Mr. Muhammad Arif Bashir, Counselor and Ms. Nosheen Khalid, Lab Assistant Coordinator, NACP attended the training. The objectives of the course were to develop a uniform understanding of Psychologists/Counselors around key concepts pertaining to VCT and enhancing their skills to provide comprehensive HIV testing and counseling services as part of a care package responding to special needs of female injecting and non-injecting drug users (including those involved in sex work and spouses of male drug users). During the training key concepts for VCT counselors (HIV & AIDS/HIV testing/Drug Use/Risk networks/Gender related risks and Vulnerabilities etc), Protocols for VCT – I & II, and Pre-test and Post-test counseling were discussed.
 
 
Visit of Afghanistan AIDS Control Programme Officials for establishing links in HIV prevention, treatment, care and support
 
A delegation of Afghanistan AIDS Programme officials including government, civil society and community-based actors visited National AIDS Control Programme, Ministry of Health, Islamabad on 11th November 2010. The main purpose of this visit was to establish programmatic and services links in HIV prevention, treatment, care and support between Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly to ensure continuity of treatment for people living with HIV among cross-border populations and also to draw lessons on effective approaches and methods of implementing programmes in HIV including ART, Prevention of Parent-to-Child Transmission (PPTCT), outreach for at-risk populations, and community empowerment for PLHIV, involvement of religious leaders, etc. Dr. Sajid Ahmad, NPM, NACP gave a detailed presentation to the delegation. The presentation included detailed description of the Programme history, activities and recent achievements. Dr. Naveeda also made presentation on the occasion. The presentations were very well received and stimulated a healthy question and answer session. Following this, the delegation visited HIV Treatment and Care Centre at PIMS, Islamabad. This activity was arranged with support of the Joint UN Team on AIDS.
 
 
NACP Treatment and Care team visits Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi
 
NACP Treatment and Care team visited Adiala Jail to provide services to HIV positive Jail inmates on November 24, 2010. Earlier, a team of NACP physicians had diagnosed twelve (12) HIV & AIDS positive cases in the Jail.

During the current visit the NACP team was led by Dr. Abbas Haider, Medical officer and included Mr. Muhammad Usman, Medical Technologist, Mrs. Mussarat, Counselor, Mrs. Farzana Mah-e-Jabeen, Nurse. The team provided medical and counseling services to the already registered HIV & AIDS patients. The AIDS patient was provided Anti Retroviral medicines.

The NACP team also provided HIV testing and counseling to nineteen (19) suspected cases of HIV & AIDS which the Jail authorities had identified for HIV test. Out of these nineteen (19) four (04) were found to be positive by rapid testing. Blood sample of these four (04) prisoners were taken for confirmation through Elisa/Western Blot. These inmates were confirmed as HIV positive and also registered for further management/treatment. All the services provided by the NACP team to the Adiala Jail prisoners including the provision of imported AIDS medicines are completely free of cost. At the end of visit, the NACP team held a meeting with Dr. Sultan and Dr. Asif Butt, Medical Officers, Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi and briefed them about the services provided to the HIV positive Jail inmates.
 
 
National Dissemination Meeting on HIV Treatment Review
 
National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a review of the National HIV treatment programme for improvements in quality care to HIV infected and affected people in Pakistan. To share the findings of this review, a one day dissemination meeting was held on October 16, 2010 at Margalla Hotel, Islamabad. The Honorable Chief Guest Mr. Sohail Saqlain Gillani, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health gave the opening remarks. This was followed by detailed presentation of the review including recommendations by Dr. Veronique Bortolotti from WHO Regional Office, Egypt. This meeting was largely attended by the HIV technical experts and PPTCT Coordinators. Representatives from all HIV treatment centres and Provincial AIDS Control Programmes participated in the meeting.
 
 
Meeting on National Commitments to Children Affected by HIV & AIDS in Pakistan.
 
The National AIDS Control Programme in collaboration with UNICEF organized a meeting on “National Commitments to Children Affected by HIV & AIDS in Pakistan” on October 29, 2010 in the conference room of NACP. The said meeting was part of an ongoing initiative started by the SAARC Secretariat in 2006 to build the capacity of SAARC countries to respond effectively to the needs of Children Affected by HIV & AIDS (CHABA). Chief Guest Dr. Sajid Ahmad, National Programme Manager, NACP welcomed the participants and highlighted the objectives of the subject meeting. Ms. Bettina T. Schunter, HIV Specialist, UNICEF gave a presentation on the SAARC CHABA initiative in Pakistan. Dr. Muhammad Imran of NACP gave a presentation to introduce the “National Guidelines for Children Affected by HIV & AIDS”. Dr. Tufail Muhammad Khan, Consultant, UNICEF shared the preliminary findings of the study on adopting SAARC CHABA framework in Pakistan.

Prof. Dr. Rashid Jooma, Director General, Ministry of Health attended the proceedings of the concluding session. In his closing remarks, he appreciated the close collaboration between NACP and UNICEF for holding this activity and encouraged them to work with full devotion. He further appreciated the long-term commitment of UNICEF for prevention & treatment of HIV & AIDS in Pakistan. He assured full support from the Ministry of Health in this context. Director General Health emphasized that the NACP should explore any current funding available for CHABA with World Health Organization (WHO). He also suggested that NACP should request Ministry of Health and WHO for allocation of budget in this regard. The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks by the National Programme Manager, NACP.
 
 
Voluntary Blood Donation Camp , Dispensary, Parliament , Inaugurated by Minister for Health
 
The Honorable Minister for Health, Mr. Makhdoom Shahb-ud-Din along with Mr. Istaqbal Khan, Advisor to Prime Minister inaugurated the voluntary blood donation camp at parliament dispensary to celebrate the Blood Donor Week from June i.e. 14 - 21, 2010. The Minister for Health highlighted the importance of the activities being carried out during the week. He complimented the role of Benazir Bhutto for strengthening the democracy in the country. He also directed the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), Ministry of Health to ensure to arrange such camp through out the country. Minister for Health emphasized the party workers to participate enthusiastically in this campaign that is held in memorization of their party leader. The camp was also visited by Madam Fehmida Mirza, Speaker, National Assembly, Dr. Mehreen Razzak Bhutto, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Secretary Health. The camp will remain open 24 hours up to June 21st under the supervision of Dr. Durdana Kazmi, In-charge Dispensary, Parliament House. Dr. Muhammad Sharif, In-charge Blood Bank FGSH and Mr. Muhammad Qasim, Research Officer, NACP. A lot of senior party members/workers visited the camp and donated blood to tribute the sacrifice of Legendary Leader Motharma Benazir Bhutto. The camp was also visited by many of the media reporters.

The NACP has also organized such types of voluntary blood donation camps through out the country with the help of party workers to celebrate one week blood donor day campaign on the 57th anniversary of Shaheed Motharma Benazir Bhutto. Dr. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, Focal person for Blood transfusion project, is monitoring all the activities of this campaign all over the Pakistan. Meanwhile, the budget session is also continued in parliament and senate hall as well and a lot of donation will be expected from the party MNAs and senators.
 
 
Pakistan Participates in ECO Blood Transfusion Meeting in Ankara
 
The Second Meeting of the ECO Heads of Blood Transfusion Organizations was held in Ankara, Turkey on 26-27 April, 2010. Pakistan was represented in this meeting by Dr. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Program Manager, NACP and Dr. Zainab Mukhtar, Technical Expert, GTZ Technical Assistance firm. The meeting objective was to bring together Heads of BTO to share updates on existing scenarios, emerging technologies, innovations and regional developments in Blood Transfusion.

Country Reports were presented during the meeting by the leaders of the respective delegations. Dr. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Focal Person for Blood Transfusion, Pakistan presented the Pakistan Report informing the participants about the recent approval by the Government of Pakistan for the German funded ‘National Blood Transfusion Service’ project and briefed them about the salient features of the project. Dr. Zaheer also introduced a resolution from Pakistan on Injection Safety promoting injection safety as a basic human right of the citizens of the member states.

The Pakistan delegation conducted important meetings with representatives of Turkish Red Crescent Society and Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization to discuss areas of collaboration and assistance. Delegates from both countries expressed a tremendous amount of goodwill for Pakistan and offered full support and cooperation to strengthen the recently launched National Blood Transfusion Service project in Pakistan. They specifically offered Technical Assistance for the IT systems/ Automation in blood banking in Pakistan and Training Programs for all levels of blood transfusion personals from Pakistan. The meeting organizers arranged special field visits for the benefit of the meeting participants to observe the functioning of the Turkish Blood Transfusion Service and its impact on the health care system and public health.
 
 
NACP Participates in Global Fund R-9 Meeting in Cairo
 
A Joint Global Fund – EMRO Meeting on Preliminary Round 9 Negotiations was organized in Cairo on May 5-6, 2010. The Pakistan HIV/AIDS team was lead by Dr. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Program Manager, NACP and included Dr. Muhammad Imran, M&E Officer, NACP, Mr. Syed Ahmed Naqavi, Programme Officer, PR office, NACP. Other participants from Pakistan included Mr. Salman Qureshi, Nai Zindagi (R-9 Private Sector PR), Mr. Khadim Alvi, Nai Zindagi (R-9 Private Sector PR) and Mr. Oussama Tawil, UNAIDS Country Coordinator, Pakistan

Since the last two months, NACP has been in consultation with the Global Fund to prepare for the process leading to grant signing for Round 9. The Cairo meeting was organized as a part of these consultations. The specific objectives of the meeting were to discuss and clarify issues related to Round 9 HIV grant (TRP comments, PR assessment etc) and other issues related to HIV grant and to identify the need for necessary TA in this regard. It was agreed during the consultations that the progress so far has been satisfactory and the PRs Assessment would start shortly by the LFA. It was also agreed that a team of experts from the Global Fund would also visit Pakistan in June 2010. The grant signing has been planned September 2010.
 
 
Training on HIV testing and Counseling in Bangkok
 
A 5-day training on ‘HIV Testing and Counseling’ was organized by the Family Health International Regional Office for the Asia-Pacific with the support of the Thai Red Cross, from March 29 to April 02, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop was for the benefit of the NGOs working with the Male having sex with Male (MSM) population. The training facilitators included Ms. Katheleen Casey and Mr. Carl Greg, renowned regional experts in HIV Counseling and Testing. NACP was represented in this training by Dr. Qudsia Uzma, Programme Officer. Other participants included representatives from various service delivery projects for MSM population funded by the Thai Red Cross in Thailand. The training provided an excellent opportunity to share knowledge and experience among the participants and learn the skills of HIV Testing and Counseling. NACP plans to organize similar trainings in Pakistan with Dr. Qudsia Uzma, as the master trainer.
 
 
Sexually Transmitted Infection Management Training for NGOs
 
A 5-day training for NGO capacity building in STI Management was organized from April 06-10, 2010, by the Family Health International. FHI is executing a CIDA funded two-year NACP project of Technical Assistance for the delivery of HIV prevention services for female sex workers in Pakistan. The participants included health care providers from various NGOs working for female sex workers, Female IDUs and Female Prisoners with support from UNFPA and UNODC. The training was facilitated by renowned national and international consultants including Dr. Sharaf Ali Shah, Director Bridge Consultants, Karachi, Dr. Ashraf Memon, Senior Pathologist, SACP, Karachi, Dr. M. R. Parthasarathy, Technical Officer STI, FHI Chennai, India and Dr. Khurram Shahzad, FHI, Pakistan. The participants had the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences and learn from the experts about the management of sexually transmitted infections, with particular focus on service provision to vulnerable groups. The closing ceremony was attended by Dr. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, NPM, NACP and Dr. Naseer Nizamani, Deputy Representative, UNFPA. Participants expressed their gratitude to the facilitators and acknowledged the satisfactory arrangements by the organizers.
 
 
National Workshop on HIV/AIDS & TB Program Management held in Karachi
 
A two day National Workshop on HIV/AIDS & TB Program Management was organized in Karachi on March 31 and April 01, 2010. The workshop was organized by Bridge Consultants in collaboration with Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, USA.

The workshop was facilitated by Prof. Sten Vermund, Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, USA, Dr. Sharaff Ali Shah, Director, Bridge Consultants and Dr Steward Reid, University of Alabama at Birmingham USA. Dr. Noor Baloch, National Manager, TB Control Programme and Dr. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Manager, National AIDS Control Programme, also participated in the workshop which was attended by representatives from a large number on national and regional NGOs. The workshop was also attended by representatives from the provincial AIDS Control Programmes of Sind, Balochistan and NWFP.
 
 
CDWP Approves Safe Blood Transfusion Project PC-1s
 
The Federal, Provincial and AJK PC-1s (6) of the “National Blood Transfusion Service” project were approved by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) of the Planning Commission in its meeting held on March 18, 2010 in Islamabad. The PC-1s are worth Rs. 2.5 billion, and have a foreign funding component of 17 Million Euros. The foreign component consists of a grant provided by the government of Germany.

The National AIDS Control Programme is the implementing partner of the project for its first 5-year phase. A Project Management Unit will be established in the NACP to implement this project of immense public health importance all over the country.

The project envisages the establishment of 13 regional blood transfusion centers all over the country and refurbishment of 90 existing hospital based blood banks. The role of the regional centers will be serve as blood procurement and distribution centers ensuring quality systems to regulate all activities including mobilization and retention of voluntary blood donors, collection of blood donations and processing, screening, testing and component preparation and storage. The linked blood banks will be refurbished, their equipment replaced and manpower trained to adapt them to their new patient oriented role.
 
 
Visit to Pakistan of Dr. Nafis Sadik, Special Envoy of UN Secretary-General on HIV
for Asia-Pacific Region
 
Dr. Nafis Sadik, Special Envoy of UN Secretary-General on HIV/AIDS for Asia-Pacific, paid a visit to the NACP office and had a detailed meeting with Dr. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Programme Manager, NACP. Also present in the 2-hour meeting were Mr. Oussama Tawil, Country Representative, UNAIDS and Dr. Qudsia Uzma, Programme Officer, NACP.

Dr. Sadik briefed about her visit to Geneva in December 2009, where she discussed the Pakistan R-9 HIV proposal with the Executive Director GFATM and strongly advocated funding for Pakistan. Dr. Zaheer briefed in detail about the progress and achievements of the Programme in 2009. The NPM also provided an update on other developments including the World Bank funding for the gap period, ARVs supply status and provincial programme issues. Dr. Sadik expressed satisfaction on the Programme’s performance in 2009 and appreciated the commitment of the National AIDS Control Programme and the initiatives undertaken to address the national response.

 
 
World Bank Committed to Support the HIV/AIDS Programme in Pakistan
 
The Word Bank has reiterated its commitment to continue to support the HIV/AIDS Control Programme in Pakistan. Dr. Kees Kostermans, Lead Public Health Specialist, World Bank, Washington DC, expressed these views during his recent meeting, with the Federal Health Secretary, Mr. Kushnood Lashari, in Islamabad.

The meeting was held to discuss the roadmap for the second five year phase (2010-2014) of the on-going HIV/AIDS Control Programme in Pakistan. Dr. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Manager HIV/AIDS Control Programme briefed the meeting about the accomplishments made and challenges faced during the first phase of the project implementation that concluded on December 31, 2009. He stated that the governments commitment to the programme is reflected by the approval of the PC-1s for the next phase (2010-14) by ECNEC in August 2009. The next five year phase of implementation envisages a scaled-up response with enhanced geographical coverage.

The World Bank reassured the Ministry of Health that the World Bank funding for the entire Programme including all the provinces for the next five years would be finalized by its Preparatory Mission which would visit Pakistan next month. The World Banks approval process is expected to be completed within the current financial year to ensure continuity in programme implementation.

The World Bank Mission lauded the achievements made to control the spread of HIV and AIDS in Pakistan. They particularly noted the outstanding performance of the National AIDS Control Programme in mobilizing civil society including marginalized and high risk groups. The Mission recognized the increased allocation of resources by the Government of Pakistan in the next phase of the programme and considered it a positive reflection of the successful strategic advocacy conducted by the National AIDS Control Programme. The improved enabling environment at the policy levels for prioritizing and allocation of appropriate resources would facilitate greater support by multi donor organizations to control the spread of HIV/AIDS in Pakistan.

The Federal Health Secretary, Mr. Kushnood Lashari thanked the Mission for their commitment to continue supporting the next 5 year phase of the AIDS Control Programme. He expressed the hope that the World Bank would ensure completion of the necessary approval process without any disruption in the implementation of the next phase of the Programme.
 
 
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