NGOs & Health activist demand implementation of State AIDS policy 2010

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IMPHAL, March 1: The Government is implementing and administering the out-dated version of Manipur State AIDS Policy 1996 even though a drafted revision of AIDS policy in 2010 was endorsed to the general public. Several NGOs and CBOs are demanding the government to review the policy. This was stated in the function of the campaign on the demand of basic service and human rights for people living with HIV/AIDS by Ambrabati, a member of the Women Action for Development.

“According to official records of MACS, there are 11878 women and 2780 children living with HIV/AIDS due to the extensive withdrawal and reducing of foreign funding for HIV/AIDS. It results from concealment of the disease due to the negative attitudes  in the society,” she said, adding that the people living with the virus are still facing acute challenges in accessing basic health care, supportive medicine, food, education of children and house etc. due to increasing poverty levels among the HIV positive community.

Lack of state financial resources have made people with HIV/AIDS and other civil society organisation apprehensive that such situation will continue if the government does not intervene. Authorities will continue to deny their rights on basic health care unintentionally, she added.

Speaking as a resource person in the function, President of CoNE, RK Nalikanta said that we elected our representatives so that our life are secured and get benefits from them on education, health etc but our MLAs have misused funds meant for us.

The mistake lies solely with us as we sell our right to vote for money. ART cost Rs 30 thousand in 2001, got reduced to Rs 450 in 2004 and after 2007 it is distributed for free for the people living with HIVAIDS. According to the MACS report, 42116 are recorded to be infected with HIV/AIDS. 20,000 were registered for initiating ART and 50 percent has not started taking ART. We have three centres for testing to start the treatment of ART. For testing, it cost Rs 620 rupees in government hospitals and private hospitals charge Rs 1600 but it is done free of cost outside the state, he added.

After the function organised jointly by the Self Support group, World Vision of Hope Care, Platform for positive women, Christian Network of Positive Women, CoNE, FXB; WAD has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi.

It consists some demands to pass the revised Manipur State AIDS policy 2010 in the ensuing session, to ensure that laboratory testing and investigation of HIV/AIDS, Hep-C are made free of charge in all government hospitals and health centres, to make avail all the entitlement schemes and benefits for destitute and PLHIVs, to appoint gynaecologists for female PLHIVs at their ART centre, to improve and install CD4 count and viral load testing machine and accessible at every ART centre, to ensure inclusion of PLHIVs in social welfare scheme being undertaken in the state. The NGOs deals on HIV AIDS urge to discuss the matter in the on-going session of Legislative Assembly.  

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