IMPHAL, March 24: The striking MACS staff on Saturday decided to dispense ART drugs only for five days starting from today considering the hardship faced by people living with HIV and AIDS, and in the meantime various rights groups and civil society organizations in the State have urged the Government to ensure uninterrupted ART service.
Employees of MACS had launched a cease work strike on March 21, stopping all activities in ICTC and ART centres across the State in the process and pushing their various demands.
However, the society warned the Government that if the latter fails to fulfill their demands within five days during which ART drugs would be distributed as normal, it would resume the strike.
“There could be legitimate grievances of MACS staff currently on strike, but denial of ART to people living with HIV and AIDS amounts to violation of not only right to health of PLHA, but their very right to life. It is incumbent on the Government of Manipur to promptly find an alternative,” said Babaloo Loitongbam, Director, Human Rights Alert during an emergency meeting convened to discuss the situation arising out of the cease work strike launched by staff of Manipur State AIDS Control Society on Saturday.
Representatives of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), All Manipur Bar Association (AMBA), Human Rights Alert (HRA), Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS), Centre For Organization Research and Education (CORE), Indegenious Mothers Association (IMA), Kuki Women Union were present in the meeting organized by Communiy Network For Empowerment (CoNE) here.
MACS staff went on a strike pushing their demands including payment of their arrears and revision of their pay as per National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) norms.
It is worth noting that about 10,012 people are accessing ART services from seven ART centres in Manipur.