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Mumbai AIDS project head quits

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Under fire, Mumbai AIDS project head quits, declines Sion Hospital

dean's job

Express news service

Mumbai, February 22 Scathing remarks from the National AIDS Control

Organisation (NACO) on the management of the HIV spread in Mumbai has

led to the resignation of the head of the city's AIDS project on

Friday. Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) project director

Dr Nirupa Borges, who submitted her resignation, has also refused to

take over as dean of the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital,

Sion — the new post offered to her.

" We had offered her the dean's post at Sion Hospital. She has

submitted her resignation, but it has not been accepted yet, " said

Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak.

According to BMC officials, in a meeting held recently with NACO

chief Dr Sujata Rao, officials were categorically asked to put a

public health official who can go to the grassroots and slums in

charge of the MDACS. Dr Rao reportedly quoted AIDS/HIV figures for

Mumbai and Chennai between 2003 and 2006 to drive home the fact that

the programme to prevent the spread of HIV was not being managed well

in the city.

" They (NACO) said that the preventive programme in Mumbai was not

satisfactory. They said the MDACS needed a public health specialist

who can go to the grassroots, and not a professor, " said Additional

Municipal Commissioner Kishor Gajbhiye. On Dr Borges refusing Sion

Hospital dean's post, he said: " She was not comfortable with the post

as she had not applied for the same. "

The MDACS, an autonomous body registered under the Charitable Trust

Act, was established in 1998 by the BMC for the control and

prevention of HIV/AIDS in Mumbai. The working of MDACS is governed by

the policies formulated, adopted and implemented by the governing

body. However, the executive committee and governing body of the

MDACS work within the framework of rules, regulations and policies

issued by the NACO of the Government of India.

" I personally think a person from the field of public health should

be handling the MDACS. She (Dr Borges) is a senior professor and was

offered the post of dean of Sion Hospital, " Gajbhiye said.

In a setback to the AIDS control programme in Mumbai, a World Bank

report recently observed that there had been problems in the

procurement of kits as well as in appointment of NGOs in Mumbai and

Maharashtra. Ruling out any connection between the report and the

resignation, Gajbhiye said: " There is no connection with the World

Bank report as the report was on the performance of the MDACS during

1999 to 2004. Dr Borges was not in-charge at that time. " Dr Borges

could not be reached despite repeated efforts



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