A pilot project has been launched by the National AIDS Control Organisation or Naco in Delhi to link people living with HIV to the Aadhar card scheme, enabling every patient to have a unique ID. The project aims to ensure better access to health, financial and social sector benefits for them.
Beginning with a pilot project in anti-retroviral therapy centres in Delhi, Naco has started an online and SMS system for patients who already have Aadhar cards to update their details. A special registration drive will also be held for patients under treatment at these centres who do not have Aadhar cards from December 1-31.
Senior officials in Delhi State AIDS Control Society said this is an effort to ensure speedy access to existing health, finance and social sector benefits for the people living with HIV. “We have many patients complaining that it is a hassle to get benefits they are entitled to, like the monthly financial assistance of Rs 1,000, because they have to submit some records physically every time, and others periodically,” an official said.
“When patients are not keeping well, it is a problem for them to come and submit these documents. The new system will generate a database of patients so it helps us track them and also monitor those who drop out of treatment, have opportunistic infections or have complications like TB along with HIV.”
The official said financial benefits can be transferred directly to their accounts. This project will later be expanded in a “phased manner” across the country, according to Naco officials.
Representatives of HIV sufferers have welcomed the move. The AIDS Control Society is taking the help of groups like the Delhi Network of Positive People to spread the word among patients. “If this scheme works out, it will be a boon. We currently have to submit life certificates every three months, income certificates every 11 months and treatment records every time. So many needy patients actually miss out,” a representative of the Delhi network, who is also HIV positive, said.
For patients under treatment at the nine anti-retroviral therapy centres in government hospitals in the capital, an SMS and online registration system has already been started on the Naco website. Each of the centres have been provided a numerical code and patients have to enter their unique ID code and the code of their respective therapy centre to register themselves. They can also send an SMS to 51969, with their code and Aadhar card number.
“Patients also have the option of submitting their Aadhar card details at the therapy centre where they are under treatment.