TODAY -

Service gap could worsen HIV epidemic in state
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, January 31, 2012: Service gap at various levels could lead to worsening of the HIV epidemic in the state, according to former project director of Manipur State Aids Control Society (MACS), Dr Pramod Kumar.

Speaking as resource person during a one-day capacity building workshop of outreach workers on Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) and HIV Exposed Infants (HEI) care and treatment held here at Hotel Nirmala today, Dr Pramod Kumar expressed concern that service gap in identifying and providing follow-up service to HIV exposed pregnant mothers and their children as well as late detection and diagnosis could result in an inability to halt and reverse the spread of the epidemic in the state, especially in the context of the children.

It is estimated that 94,000 children below 15 yrs are infected with HIV in India, most of which are in the high burden districts of states in South and North-East India, including Manipur.

In Manipur during the last five yrs, out of 11,72,116 people tested, 13,064 were found positive, out of which 4,803 were women and 1,369 were children.

Sero-prevalence for children increased from 6.8 % in 2004 to 7.6 % in 2008, he said.

Expressing concern, he added that as on October 2010 cumulative number of children living with HIV/AIDS registered in HIV care in the state was 2,431, but only 722 started ART.

Hence, the fear is that many children either die untested and untreated, he continued, and further stressed that networking and linkages are extra important.

"We have the technology, medicine, doctors, facility and children, who need help, therefore not providing service here would be akin to killing the children ourselves," he said urging the outreach workers to do their best in closing the gaps in service.

The workshop is the first in a series of programmes to be held during the next three days for training outreach workers, staff of EID designated centres, District AIDS Control officers and District Supervisers.

It is organized by MACS with support from UNICEF, Assam office.

Inaugurating the workshop, the present project director of Manipur State Aids Control Society (MACS) SK Chaurasia emphasized the major role of outreach workers in the..successful and effective implementation of the newly launched EID programme in the state.

Urging the participants to work with full compassion and dedication to enhance the quality of life of HIV exposed children, he called upon them to "reach the unreached".

Deputy Director (CST) of MACS, Dr Y.Gopal Krishna, Head of Department of Paediatric Department, RIMS, Prof.Dr..HRanbir, Programme Director, Centre of Excellence, Paediatric, JNIMS, Dr.Apabi, Technician at ART Centre, RIMS, Bunty Naorem, and State Co-ordinator of IL&FS, M.Premjit were the other resource persons of the workshop.


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