`Proactive-advocacy and services for HIV/AIDS needed in Ukhrul`

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IMPHAL, August 6: “Death is inevitable to every one. I knew my husband would also die one day but what hurt me most is that he died in the hospital. Because of his HIV status the nurse were not interested to attend to him even when I requested them to replace the empty drip with a new one”, Pagam cried in the press meet today held at TTA Hall, Ukhrul organized by Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE). 

The press meet was called pertaining to the death of AS Themngam of Ukhrul Dist in the Ukhrul district hospital and to address the lack of proper HIV/AIDS related service in the district.

It may be mentioned that one AS Themngam had died in the hospital reportedly after nurses refused to attend to him because of his HIV status.

Stigma and Discrimination is very visible and strong particularly in Ukhrul area of Manipur, said by the president Tangkhul Mayar Ngalong (TMNL) during the press meet. He added that advocacy through village to village is indispensable so as to ensure such discrimination by health service providers are not repeated again. He maintained that people needs more education and awareness on HIV/AIDS.

He further blamed it on the lack of the state government’s initiative and lack of adequate HIV advocacy programme in the Ukhrul dist., he maintained.

Ukhrul District NGOs Alliance on Health (UDHAH) representative has also stated to the media person that the official of Manipur SACS has announced that Ukhrul is the HIV capital of Manipur in 2003, however he added that till now there is no Community Care Center (CCC) in the district. The people of Ukhrul are deprived of the required health services.

He also added that the district hospital is running with staff deficiency even though the number of post sanctioned by the government for the hospital is quite high. He stated that out of 26 sectioned nurses by the govt. only 14 is presently working in the hospital. 

Further condemning the situation of the district hospital, a member of UDHAH has stated that there is no medical officer for ART, no STIs doctor even though the prevalence of the STI is quite high.

He also lamented the limited facilities for opportunities infections and the absence of a blood bank in the district.

Condemning the deficiency of HIV related services in the district, president Ukhrul Network of Positive People (UNP+) C Ayo said that this is not the first time where health care service providers have discriminated PLWHA.

He stated, ‘At least we aspect them to be aware and sensitive about the issue, such discrimination sends a very negative message to the general community’.

He also expressed that PLWHA of Ukhrul areas are very unfortunate because of numerous challenges. He added that the service provision for HIV prevention, care and support is very low. He added that the CD4 machine of District hospital has remained idle after the lab technician was transferred from the hospital on January 24, 2011. He further stated, ‘only machine, no technician’.

He maintained that BPL People LWHA cannot afford to go to Imphal for CD4 counting. He further maintained that this very problem has largely hampered their therapy. He stated, for initiation of ART around six tests are required such as VDRL, LFT, and Hep C etc. He further added that such testing facilities are not available in the district.

He said that tentatively more than 1054 known PLWHA is living in the district, among them 699 are on ART. He further maintained that only one Dr. Noren has been deployed in the district hospital who is also looking after the overall activities of the center. 

Today’s meet was attended by various CBOs, CSOs, NGOs, positive networks and student.

During an exclusive visit to the District hospital by this IFP reporter after the press meet, one Dr Jimking said that he had been appointed as District TB officer of the hospital however due to lack of man power he has subordinating as the Chief Medical Officer and the District Aids Officer.

Another hospital source, on conditions of anonymity informed IFP that one Dr Surat was supposed to joined as the medical superintendent since July 15, 2011 according to a government order, however he has failed to turned up till date.

Condemning the issues of discrimination and lack of HIV services in the Ukhrul district, various CBOs, CSOs, NGOs, positive networks and student leaders have decided to submit a memorandum to the DC Ukhrul, health minister, health commissioner, MSACS and to the national aids control society.

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