TODAY -

HIV-afflicted to receive ART meds at their doorsteps
Source: Chronicle News Service / DIPR

Imphal, December 01 2021: The state observed World AIDS Day under the theme of "End inequalities, End AIDS, End Pandemics" at First Battalion Manipur Rifles parade ground here on Wednesday.

Organised by Manipur AIDS Control Society (MACS), the observance was attended by Governor La Ganesan and Chief Minister N Biren Singh as chief guest and functional president respectively.

CM N Biren announced that from December onwards, all the HIV patients will get ART and other related medicines through home delivery, taking into account the inconveniences faced by people, especially the young people.

He also said that the present government is proactively working to bring development in the State.

Addressing the gathering, Governor La Ganesan said that World AIDS Day, 2021 is a very important event all over the world particularly in the state of Manipur, where the people have experienced the impact of the HIV epidemic for more than three decades.

Many innocent young people have died due to AIDS related diseases in Manipur, while a number of children have been orphaned and many young women widowed.

"World AIDS Day, 2021 is observed to attain access for all to HIV prevention.

In this regard, the state has already made an AIDS Policy, for which it has the distinction of being the first and only state in India to have a state AIDS Policy as early as 1996," he remarked.

The Governor then said that it is now imperative to make modifications and improvements in the policy to suit the changing circumstances and trend of the epidemic.

Experts and intellectuals in this field should give their suggestions from time to time for making the policy appropriate as per the situation and it will be of immense help in treatment, care and support and address the critical need for protection of human rights, he added.

La Ganesan continued: "Earlier statistics indicated that the magnitude of the problem in Manipur during the early stage is in highly alarming state, in the sense that many pregnant housewives, who represent the general population have been infected with HIV.

However, it is gratifying to note that in the last decade, infection among the mothers as well as youngsters have been diminished significantly.

"It is also satisfying to know that the HIV prevalence rate among Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), homosexuals and female sex workers have come down significantly during the last two decades," he conveyed and added that small children should get utmost care and protection in this regard.

"It is the responsibility of the society at large, particularly women to have a greater involvement in the fight against HIV and AIDS to safeguard the future of Manipur," he contended.

The Governor also said that Manipur is renowned throughout the world for its excellence in the field of games and sports, Art and Culture and a beautiful composite civilisation comprising a number of small ethnic groups.

However, it is unfortunate that Manipur is still identified as an epicentre of HIV and AIDS.

Manipur is one of the six high prevalence States in the country, identified by the National AIDS Control Organisation, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

He appealed to all young women of the state to remove their fear and ignorance with regard to HIV issues.

This is not only for their own protection but also for saving the future generation.

We must promote voluntary HIV testing before marriage in this regard, he asserted La Ganesan then said that it is encouraging to know that the National AIDS Control Programme is being successfully implemented in the state with funding through NACO, Government of India.

MACS is the nodal agency for implementation of this programme, which is implemented through active collaboration between various government and non-government agencies.

Furthermore, the HIV and AIDS issue is no longer a mere health issue.

It has covered all aspects of life - social, economic, legal, human rights and even political.

The all-out and concerted efforts of the health officials and concerned activists of the state will not be sufficient in tackling this issue.

Thus, CSOs have to be actively involved in the issue, he contended.

Appreciating the role of non-Government Organisations and agencies during the last three decades in providing preventive services and care to the people, the Governor remarked that the situation could have been much worse without the active role of the NGOs.

The Governor launched Link Art Centre for Sub-District Hospital, Mao Senapati District for making ART more accessible in far flung areas.

In his speech, CM Biren said that the present government is proactively working to bring development in the State.

Lauding MACS and allied NGOs/CSOs for their contribution in helping to lower the rate of HIV/AIDS infection in the state from 3.1 percent to 1.18 percent; the CM urged for concerted efforts towards lowering the state's present national level infection rate of 0.22 percent.

He further urged all HIV afflicted people not to be depressed, while assessing what more support the government could provide in this regard.

Biren then recounted the achievements of the state government in the last 4 years and appealed to the people to participate in the Covid-19 vaccination programmes to attain 100 percent vaccination.

Later, the Governor and other government officials inspected MACS departmental stores and interacted with the store keepers.

Minister (Works) Th Biswa-jit Singh, chief secretary Dr Rajesh Kumar (IAS), additional chief secretary (Health & Family Welfare) Vumlunmang Vualnam and MACS project director Haobam Rosita also attended the function besides senior officers, medical practitioners, NGOs, representatives of the positive community, CSOs, officials of health department and other dignitaries.


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