Increase transparency in planning: NGO

The Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP), a non-governmental organisation, has called upon the government to increase transparency in planning the National AIDS Control Programme phase-IV by strengthening participation of civil society — particularly representatives of vulnerable communities, groups working on access to treatment, community-based organisations and State level People Living with HIV networks — in ongoing working group meetings.

The NACP-IV plan will define the national response over the next five years. The working groups of the NACP-IV focus on key policy areas including medicine procurement, stigma and discrimination, prevention, vulnerable communities, care, support and treatment.

In a joint statement here on Thursday, the PHLIV networks like the DNP + said it was not enough to have government departments, donors and international NGOs on the table. The PHLIV networks, vulnerable communities, especially sex workers, sexual minorities and injecting drug users, must feel they have an equal stake in the planning of HIV prevention and treatment efforts.

During the ongoing working group meetings here, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has prioritised participation of donors, international NGOs, representatives of the National AIDS Research Institute, doctors from the public and private sectors, and among the PLHIV networks only one group of those living with HIV. “The lack of transparency in the constitution of the working groups like the one on drug procurement is a case in point. Without feedback from the community on stockouts or excess stocks at Anti-Retroviral Treatment centres, how will drug procurement be reformed, asked Vikas Ahuja of DNP+.

Quoting the Planning Commission's Task Force on Governance, Transparency and Participation that accountability and transparency are critical elements of good governance, the statement says the NACO was a state agency and obliged to have consultations and ensure proper participation in its policy making.