Meeting in progress at NISD, Delhi
National Steering Committee (NSC) meeting for Project H13 was held at National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) on 22 August 2008. In the meeting, the
project apprised members on the overall progress made since the last NSC as well as the workplan for India. The NSC comprises of
senior representatives from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE), National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), The Federation of Indian NGOs for Drug Abuse prevention (FINGODAP), National Institute of Social Defence (NISD), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Positive Women's Network+ (PWN+). In addition, representatives from Delhi State AIDS Control Society, WHO-SEARO , UNAIDS, Country Office-India and UNODC, Regional Office for South Asia were also present.
The discussions at the meeting covered following relevant aspects:
Oral Substitution Treatment (OST):
Presentation by NACO on OST highlighted the partnership with UNODC and the specific contributions made by the project in the scale-up of OST in India. The importance of monitoring the OST component and a need to develop a monitoring system was also discussed. In addition, the need to make the OST intervention a 'high visibility' program with a strong legal documentation and active involvement at the district level and de-centralization of such programs was highlighted. NACO was acknowledged for developing the operational Practice Guidelines on Targeted Interventions, specifically on OSB. The importance of a sound medical education system while scaling up and developing the Standard Operating Principles for accreditation of NGOs delivering OST was emphasized. The NSC members re-iterated that these medicines could be used for prevention of HIV amongst injecting drug users (IDUs) without any apprehensions as long as scientific guidelines were followed.
Gender Strategy : The major achievements of Positive Women's Network+ (PWN+) and its
partnership with the project were discussed. Since the project has a strong gender strategy in place, the NSC felt that, it could play a key role in providing technical assistance at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria- Round 9, especially in the area of female IDUs, female sex partners of drug users, impact mitigation and children of IDUs.
Sustainability: Concerns about strengthening the linkages between the Targeted Interventions under NACO and de-addiction centers run by the MSJE were raised at the meeting. The NSC recommended that NACO share their mapping studies with MSJE and in order to ensure sustainability of the interventions, MSJE could support certain aspects of the comprehensive packages of services.
The key outputs identified at the meeting under the workplan for 2008-2009 for the project in India in Phase II were that, the project would continue to support 19 demonstration sites providing comprehensive packages of services for drug users and their partners; initiate a pilot study in partnership with NACO on Methadone Maintenance Therapy at 3 sites in India; develop monitoring & evaluation and advocacy plans for its Phase II; finalize and commission related studies and IEC materials; strengthen, monitor the 'supply-chain mechanism' for OST and pursue the possibility of initiating a stand alone OST site for female IDUs. The project was advised to address sustainability through joint programme mechanisms between the government and UN agencies and hold regular meetings with donor agencies to share learnings from the project.