India's government restores funding for HIV/Aids programme

2015-12-02 13:58
Indian NGO volunteers light candles in the shape of a ribbon during an awareness rally on the eve of World Aids Day in Agartala. (AFP)

Indian NGO volunteers light candles in the shape of a ribbon during an awareness rally on the eve of World Aids Day in Agartala. (AFP)

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New Delhi - India's federal government said it will restore funding to the country's HIV/Aids programme months after it cut its contribution and asked regional governments to fill in the gaps.

Health Minister JP Nadda said late on Tuesday the government was committed to combating HIV/Aids and that the federal government would resume fully funding India's National Aids Control Programme. Nadda was speaking at an event to mark World Aids day.

Health activists had criticised the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when it slashed funding for the programme in February.

India's Aids programme has largely been seen as a success, but it began to signs of breaking down last year as payments to companies that provided drugs to the programme were delayed. Those problems were made worse when the government cut its share of funding for the programme.

As state governments scrambled to find funds, there were reports of shortages of condoms and antiretroviral drugs as well as syringes for needle-exchange programmes. Across the country health workers complained of not being paid for months.

Government data released on Tuesday showed that India recorded 86 000 new HIV infections in 2015, compared to 128 000 in 2007, but the rate of decline has slowed.

Read more on:    india  |  hiv aids  |  health

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