KARACHI: The Sindh health department has finally constituted a 16-member commission for the control and treatment of HIV and Aids in Sindh a year after the Sindh HIV and Aids Control, Treatment and Protection Act, 2013 was passed, it emerged on Tuesday.
However, the names of commission members have not been finalised.
Health officials said the competent authority (i.e. the chief minister) had approved the establishment of the commission comprising 11 members plus a five-member governing body.
The commission required two persons representing non-governmental organisations working in the field of HIV and Aids. One of them shall be from injecting drug users (IDUs) and the other from the high-risk group on the basis of integrated behavioural and biological surveillance.
The officials said two other members would be medical practitioners — one from the public sector and the other from the private sector — working in the field of HIV and Aids.
Other members would include Sindh Aids Control Programme manager, a lawyer with experience in HIV and Aids, three people from the high-risk community one of whom shall be a woman, a non-governmental organisation representative working on social issues to be nominated by the government, a retired judge or a retired official of the law enforcement agencies.
The governing body of the commission would comprise five ‘eminent members’ to be nominated by the government.
The officials said it was not hard to nominate people from NGOs, judiciary, law enforcement agencies or medical profession, but the real task was to find injecting drug users or those from high-risk groups who could become part of the commission.
“What is more difficult for us is to look out for a woman among the three members from certain high-risk community,” said an official while explaining the reasons behind the delay in making the commission functional.
He said the exercise might take a few more months.
The terms of reference for the commission said the working body would be responsible for undertaking and implementing HIV- and Aids-related projects in Sindh and fulfil the objectives of the relevant law.
The governing body would meet every six months to evaluate the progress of the working body. A non-official member of the commission would hold office for a period of two years from the date of his/her appointment, and would be eligible for re-appointment for such duration as government determined.
It said the chairperson and the commission secretary would be elected by the governing body and the majority of the members of the commission would constitute a quorum for a meeting.
The officials said the commission would establish and fund an entity that would take care of grants made by the government and federal and local bodies; income from investments made by the commission; donations and endowments; revolving funds placed by the government at the disposal of the commission; and all other sums received by the commission and incomes from other sources.
Published in Dawn February 25th , 2015