Imphal, July 14 2017: Along with organizing an awareness cum screening camp on Hepatitis-C exclusively for drugs users’ community at Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa, the Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) and the jail authorities have declared that free Hep-C treatment would be provided to those inmates whose results are found to be positive in the screening camp .
The one day Hepatitis-C awareness cum screening camp was held under the joint aegis of CoNE and Nirvana Foundation in collaboration with Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa and Babina Diagnostics at the jail premises today with the support from Coalition PLUS .
The camp was also a part of the Prison HIV Intervention funded by Central Disease Control and implemented by Nirvana Foundation under Project Sunrise .
Altogether 27 jail inmates, with history of drug use, were screened for Hep-C virus .
During the camp, it was agreed between CoNE and jail authorities that out of all those inmates who tested positive in the screening, patients with cirrhotic liver will be treated by CoNE free of cost while the remaining positive inmates will be provided free treatment by the jail authorities .
This was also announced by the Jail SP, Phaniphang and CoNE president Rk Nalinikanta during their speech in the function .
Speaking at the inaugural function of the screening camp, Phaniphang expressed gratitude to the members of CoNE, Nirvana Foundation and Babina Diagnostics for organizing the programme considering the need to provide necessary awareness to the jail inmates on Hep-C and for early diagnosis and treatment and said that the organizers are indeed life savers as they save the lives of those infected with Hep-C .
He also appealed to the participants to further spread awareness about the programme to other inmates who missed the opportunity to attend the programme and said that if at all such programmes are needed to be conducted further, the concerned authorities will be approached .
Furthermore, he assured that free treatment would be provided to the inmates of the jail whose blood test in the screening camp turn out to be positive .
Since CoNE would be providing free treatment to patients with cirrhotic liver in the camp, the jail authorities would be approaching the State Government to provide the necessary fund for the treatment of those inmates who are left out of CoNE’s purview.
Possibilities of providing the funds from the health funds of the jail would also be considered, he added .
CoNE president, Rk Nalinikanta also said that the number of people dying of liver diseases are skyrocketing and it is time the Government consider the disease as a public health issue and take up necessary measures to control the epidemic .
He further informed that considering the seriousness of the disease, the Government of Punjab and Haryana have initiated free treatment facilities to HCV patients .
The Delhi Government has also initiated process to do the same.
However, for the State of Manipur there is no initiative taken up by the State Government as of now .
However, CoNE on its part has, as of now, provided free treatment to over 50 patients through funds mobilized from different philanthropists, individual donors from the State and outside as well as other well wisher.
The organization has also decided to provide free treatment to the jail inmates whose blood test results are positive and having cirrhotic liver, he added .
Nalinikanta also explained that lack of awareness among the people is a serious case of concern and as such there is the urgent need to impart awareness on Hep-C among the public .
Considering this necessity, CoNE and Nirvana Foundation in association with Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa and Babina Diagnostics decided to organize the function .
Nirvana Foundation secretary Sobhana, also expressed sincere gratitude to CoNE for tying up with Nirvana Foundation and organizing the camp on Hepatitis C .
Considering the work CoNE has done in the field of Hepatitis-C, Nirvana decided to coordinate with CoNE and conduct the awareness and screening programme on Hep-C and hopefully the two organizations will go hand in hand in delivering services on Hep-C to the people in future as well, Sobhana added .
Prison HIV Intervention, prison coordinator Y Tomba delivered the key note address of the function.
Source: The Sangai Express