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Article Review: Health care systems in transition III. Pakistan, Part II. Pakistan’s response to HIV-AIDS
According to Kazi et al, (2000), healthcare incident command and management system utilizes the use of a unified command system so as to enhance the communication and response to an epidemic or disaster. Having a unified command system makes communication effective as well as creating a structure that ensures there are people responsible for various activities and prevents clashing of roles. It also makes it possible for different organizations to partner in their response and collaborate.
The authors derives a case in Pakistan where in 1986, the government of Pakistan took the HIV-Aids epidemic seriously. The government in this case established a centralized source of information and to have one body leading the response to HIV-AIDS by establishing the Federal Committee on AID (FCA) in 1987. This later became the National AIDS Control Programme which was launched by ministry in charge of health. There were more centralized and organized efforts by having a centralized body which the government used in responding to HIV-AIDS. This enabled the development of a programme management structure for both the provincial and federal levels.
With a centralized body in charge of response, there was the ability for a structured response through coordination and the implementation of various programmes in Pakistan. A health system response and intervention programme was developed and there was the use of education and communications campaigns, clinical management and prevention, treatment and care of STDs.
Although there had been a ban on the use of electronic media to discuss sexual health but the Ministry of Health helped to lobby decision-makers so as to allow the use of electric media so as to raise public awareness about HIV-AID. This illustrates one of the key tenets of healthcare incident command and management system which is prevention; the prevention of further infections and creating public awareness. There were twenty non-governmental organizations that collaborated with the government in providing public education and awareness, providing peer education among high-risk groups. Collaboration is used in healthcare incident management so as to increase outreach and spread information and response to a large area and in a faster pace.
With a healthcare incident command and management system, there is the allocation of duties and the use of professionals. This ensures the use of professionals so as to deliver quality services and intervention. In Pakistan, there was the training of clinicians so as to have professionals in charge of clinical management of HIV patients. Healthcare incident command and management system seeks to prevent new cases, educate the masses and treat the already known cases and this is illustrated in this paper by reviewing the response of the Government of Pakistan to HIV-AIDS.
Through the use of establishing a centralized body to deal with HIV-AIDS, using professionals to handle cases, carrying out various programmes to educate the public and prevent new infections as well as using available resources to handle the current cases, the Government of Pakistan employed various elements of health incident command and management system to respond to HIV-AIDS in Pakistan.