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Re: Parliamentary committee seeks validation of NACO's AIDS figures

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Re: The Parliamentary committee seeks validation of NACO's AIDS figures:


The Council for Social Development (CSD) organized a National Consultation

‘National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) III: Are We on the Right Track? Some

Urgent Concerns for Wider Debate’ on 28 November 2007 at the India International

Centre, New Delhi.

Concerned Govt. officials (NACO & Ministry of H & FW, Ministry of WCD), eminent

academics, well-known doctors, planners & policy makers, bureaucrats, activists,

members of civil society organizations & NGOs, researchers & media persons took

part in the consultation.

Under the session ‘NACP: Estimates, Expenditure, Performance & Structure’,

eminent people including Dr. N. S. Deodhar, epidemiologist and former Addl.

Director, General Health Services, Dr. Lalith Nath, former director of AIIMS,

Dr. Padam Singh, eminent statistician & former DDG of ICMR, Dr. Meera Shiva,

public health expert & Dr. Kamala Gupta, Chief Coordinator, NFHS III, IIPS

Mumbai discussed the issue of estimation of HIV prevalence cases, in length &

breadth. I am sharing here some of their views that came up during the

Consultation, regarding this issue.

Dr. Deodhar said that HIV Sentinel Surveillance Centers were designed to serve

as epidemiological tools to judge the trend of HIV infection. These centers do

not provide data on population-based incidence or prevalence rates. Since the

sample is not representative of the population, data from these centers cannot

be extrapolated. But, NACO had been using this data.

In his presentation he showed that data from sentinel surveillance centers

indicate that since 1998, HIV infection shows overall declining trend in India.

Dr. Lalith Nath told that earlier, data from surveillance centers & pre-natal

clinics (pregnant women visiting the center were used as representative of the

general population) were extrapolated; which was not the correct method.

This time population based sample from all over the country (NFHS III) was

selected for estimating HIV prevalence, thus arrived at a smaller number. This

method doesn’t give information on high risk population. Dr. Padam Singh pointed

out that with the same sentinel surveillance data, using different method, he

had arrived at different HIV prevalence numbers than that of NACO & the current

figure by NFHS III has been arrived at through entirely different method.

He opined that the NFHS sample design was not suitable for HIV estimation. If

required statistics has ways and methods to address these issues, he added.

Dr. Meera Shiva pointed out that there is lack of willingness from various

sectors, to sit together and discuss ways out from this complex situation. She

added that transparency is essential.

Sindhu Nambiath

Associate Fellow & Consultation Coordinator CSD

" Sindhu Nambiath "

e-mail: <snambiath@...>

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