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State Of Care

Times of India
04 September 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
Mumbai, India

Naco team in city to review facilities for AIDS patients
Little seems to have been done in terms of infrastructure and facilities to keep up with the increasing load of HIV positive patients in the city. The main centres providing Anti–Retroviral Therapy (ART) cater to anywhere between 2,000–10,000 patients, with a staff strength of less than 30 in some.

Officials from the National AIDS Control Organisation (Naco) are in the city to review the patient care, support and treatment facilities here. In the past, several HIV positive patients have expressed displeasure over the behaviour of those dispersing drugs, counsellors as well as doctors. Many have also alleged that discrimination is still rampant even in public hospitals.

Deputy director general of Naco, Dr Damodar Bachani, said that a meeting with all zonal officers is scheduled on Saturday to discuss several issues, including overcrowding of ART centres. "We need infrastructure to help the rapidly increasing pool of HIV patients. The increase is mainly because we are reaching out to more communities,’’ he said.

The team also visited the Gaurabai Hospital in Kamathipura that houses an Integrated Centre for Testing and Counselling (ICTC), apart from a dedicated clinic for sexually transmitted diseases. There are suggestions to convert portions of the hospital into a Community Care Centre (CCC), which will have testing, counselling and ART facility under one roof. The centre will function like a small hospital with 10 beds and treat patients who complain of the treatment’s side effects.

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