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More ART centres to be opened next month

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 17 (UNI) As many as 46 more anti-retroviral treatment (ART) centres would be set up next month to provide free medicine and treatment to AIDS patients, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

This will take the total number of such centres to 100.

Replying to a spate of questions on the subject during question time, Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumoni Ramadoss said the country at present had 54 ART centres which were together providing free treatment to 28,665 patients.

He said the new centres were being opened in order to meet the increased demand for antiretroviral treatment. They would be operational by the middle of next month on the completion of training, supply of drugs and diagnostic equipment.

Dr Ramadoss said an estimated 85,320 patients would be provided free treatment during 2006-07 in the 100 ART centres.

Replying to a supplementary from Chandrakant Kaire (Shiv Sena), he said though the target was to provide free ART to 180,000 patients in 188 centres by 2010, action to further expand such centres would be taken in keeping with the demand.

The Minister said NACO provided funds for appointment of two doctors, one counsellor, one lab technician, one data entry operator and a pharmacist on contractual basis in each centre. Diagnostic equipment such as CD4 count machines, reagents and drugs were also provided to these ART centres. The doctors in the department where the ART Centre was located were provided specialised training for 12 days and faculty members were provided training for five days at the centres of excellence identified for the purpose.

Dr Ramadoss said the country now had 5.2 million AIDS/HIV affected patients. This was not high as compared to many countries.

The prevalent rate among the adults continued to be .91 per cent in many states like Tamil Nadu.

He said the government had rolled out 1.6 billion condoms to encourage safe sex during the last year. As many as 11,000 condom vending machines were installed last year.


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