Money for rebuilding health facilities in North, battle HIV/AIDS
Govt. gets USD 31 mn from Global FundApril 21, 2011, 9:53 pm
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The government had received over USD 31 million from the Global Fund to battle HIV/AIDS and rebuild health facilities in the North. USD 19 million would be allocated to construct 10 MOH offices, 25 out patient departments and rebuild health facilities in the North, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said.
Addressing the Global Fund HIV/AIDS project launch at the SLFI on Thursday (21) he said that 12.5 million USD had been allocated by the Fund to strengthen the HIV/AIDs control programme. The funds had been allocated for a period of five years (2011 – 2015).
"The total amount allocated however, would be given according to the progress of the HIV/AIDS control work being carried out by us within the next two years," he said. The officers in charge of coordinating the aids control programmes should ensure that they achieve targets on time. The health sector receives various funds in form of loans and donations. "But the accusation that we hear most often is that the funds are not used to the maximum and the programmes are not completed on time.
Sirisena said there were approximately three thousand HIV persons in Sri Lanka. 1,250 of them had been tested AIDS positive. One person is tested positive each day with the HIV virus. But the fact which is daunting is that 33 percent of the country’s population lives in the Western province. And 61 percent of patients infected with the HIV virus are also from the Western Province. He cited urbanisation and the need for values within sections of the urban population as one of the reasons for higher numbers in the Province.
Round nine of the HIV/AIDS component of the Global Fund is carried out in collaboration with the National STD/AIDS Control Programme, the Sri Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya and several other NGOs, which carry out work at a grass root level.
Director of STD/AIDS Control Programme Dr. Nimal Edirisinghe said the country was forced to spend large amounts of funds to control a disease such as HIV/AIDS in order to prevent its rapid spread.
However there are approximately forty thousand sex workers in Sri Lanka and each one of them have at least five or six clients daily. He said the 35,000 homosexuals and 40,000 drug addicts too were at risk of contacting the deadly disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). "The Programme has identified the three sections as high risk groups," Dr. Edirisinghe said.
Consultant Venereologist Dr. G. Weerasinghe said they hoped to strengthen the quality of intervention and create awareness regarding the disease with the funds provided. The Programme targets two thousand beach boys, six thousand homosexuals, 8,000 drug addicts and 25,000 prisoners to carry out awareness programmes.
The fund would also help strengthen health care facilities including laboratory services for screening and testing HIV/AIDS patients.
Dr. Weerasinghe said they would carry out a behavioral – biological surveillance next year to find out the number of HIV positive persons. The first one which was carried out in 2006 helped us to identify risk groups, he added.
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Last Updated May 21 2013 | 06:02 pm