Bhubaneswar , 6/2 ( Odisha Samachar/Abhisek Mohanty) : In a bid to pass the message regarding the bottlenecks especially the stigma and discrimination to a larger population and work in an integrated approach, a State level Sensitization cum Advocacy meeting with Media was organized by LEPRA Society here on Thursday.
Vihaan which means ‘Dawn’s First Light’ is working towards scaling up care, support and treatment (CST) services for PLHIV. The Programme started from April 1, 2013 and would continue till March 31, 2016 under The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), round 4 RCC-II. The program will ensure access to care & support services through Care & support centre (CSC). In Odisha four Care & support centres (CSCs) in four districts like Ganjam, Koraput, Khordha and Cuttack in its first phase have been setup from June 2013.
Out of 30 districts in Odisha, four are ‘A” category, 3 are ‘B” category, 21 are ‘C’ and 2 are “D’ category districts under National AIDS Control Programme (NACP). Nine ART centers are in function in nine districts. As on October 31, 2013, a total of 30176 HIV cases have been detected. It is pertinent to mention here that the first case of HIV positive in Odisha was detected in 1992. In between the number has gone so high is not a matter of panicky, rather something which need to be welcomed. It proves the efficient working of the different Government and non-government projects. Though efforts have proved successful, still miles to go and particularly there is an urgent necessity of an integrated approach to meet the threat of vulnerability and transmission of HIV. While the Treatment part has been in the hand of the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) directly through its 09 ART centres and 25 Link ART Centres, the care and support services is rendered through Vihaan project through its 4nos of Care & Support Centres (CSCs) and 5 of Help Desks, namely in Cuttack, Khordha, Ganjam & Koraput and Angul, Balasore, Bhadrak and Balangir respectively, the organizers said.
Experience in the CST has proved that stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS has remained a major blockade in availing the services available for the people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs). Stigma and discrimination can be in oneself, in family, in the service delivery points as well as in the society. However, it leads to one and the only result that is, neither the PLHIV avail the services made available for him either by the Government or by the non-government agencies nor the risk of transmission gets lessened. Thus Vihaan programme aims at a bridge between all the facility centres and the PLHIVs and also to provide them education and tries bringing in a behavioural change. Besides, as the goal of the project is to improve the survival and quality of life of people living with HIV (PLHIV)’, it also endeavors to link the PLHIVs with the different Social Protection/welfare schemes of the Government.
While Project Director, Mr. Sandeep Swain, in his inaugural speech informed about the LEPRA Society and its coverage in states and the different sectors, Programme Officer, Mr. Rajkumar Dash, made vivid power presentations on the project and its work. Advocacy officer, Ms. Subham organized the event.