India’s NACO To Build Care Centers for Children Living With, Affected by HIV/AIDS
India's National AIDS Control Board earlier this month gave the National AIDS Control Organisation approval to build care centers for children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in the country, the Times of India reports. According to the Times, NACO plans to initially build 10 centers in the high HIV prevalence states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur and Tamil Nadu.
Each center will be administered by a nongovernmental organization and will house 50 children, providing clothing, informal education and nutritional requirements. The centers also will administer antiretroviral treatment for children living with HIV. Each NGO that manages a care center will be given an initial grant of two million rupees -- or about $46,500 -- and subsequent annual grants of 1.75 million rupees -- or about $40,700 -- by NACO, the Times reports. NACO Director-General K. Sujatha Rao said, "By July, [NACO] will call for applications from NGOs who want to set up and run such centers." Rao added, "NACO is also [partnering] with UNICEF and the Ministry of Women and Child Development to identify normal orphanages where [HIV-positive] children can stay. We don't want any discrimination."
According to Damodar Bachani, joint director of NACO, the care centers "will be modeled along the lines of the existing 159 Community Care Centers, which provide support, care and nutrition to adults" living with HIV. He added, "These homes will have doctors, nurses, teachers, caretakers and dieticians." According to the Times, there are about 70,000 HIV-positive children in India; however, only 32,000 have been identified by NACO, and only 10,000 have been placed on antiretroviral treatment. In addition, the country reports 21,000 new pediatric HIV cases annually. The government has no estimate of the number of AIDS orphans living in the country, the Times reports (Sinha, Times of India, 6/23).