2579 HIV/ AIDS affected children in state

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IMPHAL, April 16: The number of children living with HIV/AIDS (CLHA) in Manipur has reached 2578 as of January this year.
This cumulative figure given in the state epidemiological analysis report of the Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS) is that of CLHA in the age group of 0-15 years. Among these, 1378 are male while 1200 are females.
According to Dr Ng. Hemanta, joint director (CST), MACS, among these 743 children have started ART medications. He was speaking on the sidelines of an ongoing three-day long training programme for medical officers and counsellors of PPTCTs/ICTCs and ART centres on HIV exposed infant care at Hotel Nirmala.
The training which kickstarted yesterday is being organised by MACS in collaboration with Regional Pediatriac Centre, JNIMS and supported by UNICEF, Assam with the objective of providing the latest care and support treatment to HIV exposed mothers and children.
ltogether 98 counsellors and 69 medical officers of the state will be trained during the three-day programme which ends tomorrow.
Pointing out the present trend of the HIV/AIDS epidemic which is shifting from high risk groups such as IDUs to the general populace especially women and children, Dr Ng Hemanta stressed the need for more proactive intervention vis-à-vis programmes like Prevention of Parent To Child Transmission (PPTCT) of HIV/AIDS.
He further said that the need of the hour is not just to register positive cases but to also detect those mothers and infants exposed to HIV/AIDS. Stating that it is a myth that nevirapine can save all children, he said that rather it lessens the risk. Therefore, what is crucial is close monitoring and care of both mother and children, he added.
Joint Director Abhiram Mongjam, Joint Director of MACS (TI) pointed out that the rights of children exposed to HIV/AIDS still remains an unheard voice globally as well as in Manipur. Stating that there is still high risk of exposure of infants to HIV/AIDS from pregnant mothers in the state, he further stressed on the need for close monitoring and follow-up by counsellors as well as medical officers.
Consultant of the Infrastructure, Liason And Financial Services (IFSL) Manipur and Mizoram, Maibam Premjit remarked that the Prevention of Parent To Child Transmission (PPTCT) of HIV/AIDS which started in 2002 in Manipur has been rapidly expanding to cover all corners of the state. While nevirapine coverage in Manipur is good, high rate of home delivery of children, despite all efforts towards institutional deliveries, is posing a major obstacle in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic, he said. The training programme is being facilitated by Dr Ng. Hemanta, Deputy Director (CST), MACS, Dr Hijam Apabi, In-Charge of Regional Paediatric Centre (RPC), JNIMS, Prof. Dr. L. Ranbir, HOD of Paediatric Department, RIMS, Mrs Radharani, Senior Nurse of Regional Paediatric ART Centre, JNIMS, Dr N Kameshore, Assistant Professor of Paediatric Department, JNIMS and Dr Ng. Bembem, Nutritionist at Regional Paediatric ART Centre, JNIMS.

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