Dutch Ambassador to Pakistan Marcel de Vink has assured full cooperation for the establishment of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) units for the treatment of HIV patients.
The commitment was made at the inauguration of the first ART Adherence Unit (AAU) established by Nai Zindagi Trust and supported by Mainline Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands here on Monday.
Marcel de Vink said, Netherlands will enhance its supports in order to save lives of HIV patients. He also interacted with the admitted patients and assured corporation with Nai Zindagi Trust.
The AAU is a two-month residential programme for 100 residents. Established in the foothills of the Himalayas, near Islamabad, it is the first programme of its kind in Pakistan at this scale. It provides a range of holistic services including psycho-social counselling, and medical and health related services to people who use drugs, are HIV positive and need AIDS medication and treatment.
People in need of AAU services are referred from 25 districts of Punjab and Sindh where Nai Zindagi Trust and its partner organisations have established HIV prevention services for people who inject drugs (the main drivers of the HIV epidemic). Nai Zindagi Trust is offering its services with support from the Global Fund.
The primary objective of AAU is to support people affected by HIV and AIDS to adhere to medication, stay healthy and live longer. The event was attended by stakeholders working in the field of HIV and AIDS.
The outcome of the AAU is being closely monitored to further improve upon its effectiveness and eventually expand these units across Pakistan, as the current need far exceeds in-country capacity. This unit will also become a learning hub to develop local expertise to address a complex disease like AIDS in the context of drug use and poverty. The inauguration ceremony was also attended by International Programme Manager of Mainline Foundation Machteld Busz.