Statements and Webcast
H.E. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Health and Family Welfare
8 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
GHULAM NABI AZAD, Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India, called for effectively scaling up actions and resources to implement the international declarations on combating HIV/AIDS. “Our actions must match our words,” he said. Thanks to India’s strong prevention, care, support and treatment programme, the prevalence of the epidemic had been contained to just 0.3 per cent. New infections had been reduced by half. In the last decade, there was evidence that the epidemic had stabilized and even reversed in some parts of the country. The Government’s focus had been on helping high-risk groups, expanding services and improving access to antiretroviral therapy. Universal access to second-line anti-retroviral therapy and early infant diagnosis were being rolled out.
The “Red Ribbon Express” train traversed the country to disseminate awareness about HIV/AIDS and provide services to some 8 million people annually, he said. The Government was posed to begin the next phase of the National AIDS Control Programme. Mother-to-child transmission of infection continued to be a challenge. The Government hoped to achieve zero transmission in newborns and to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV through better testing of the some 27 million pregnant women who gave birth every year. It intended to provide, free of charge, diagnostic tests, drugs, food and transport for all pregnant women and newborns with HIV, to help eliminate mother-to-child transmission. The Government was launching an initiative to deliver door-to-door male and female contraceptives in 17 provinces, covering 200 million people. The initiative would be expanded thereafter to the rest of the country. Pharmaceutical companies in India provided high quality, affordable drugs for use in India and about 200 other countries. He urged the international community to work together to remove trade barriers to disseminating quality, low-cost drugs to those in need.