Friday, January 27, 2023

Nagaland observes ‘World AIDS Day’ under the theme ‘Equalize’

Correspondent/Staff Reporter

Commemorating the “World AIDS Day”, various programmes highlighting the need to address the inequalities holding back progress in ending Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) were organised Thursday across the state under the 2022 global theme, “Equalize”.
The day-long event underscored the need to increase awareness of the impact of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) on people’s lives, to end stigma and discrimination and to imp rove the quality of life of People Living with HIV (PLHIV).
Hopeful to end HIV & AIDS epidemic through NACP Phase-V
Nagaland State Aids Control Society (NSACS) Kohima, project director, Dr. Akuo Sorhie expressed hope to end HIV & AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 through National Aids Control Programme (NACP) Phase-V program.
Delivering a keynote address at “World AIDS Day” programme organised by NSACS Kohima along with NGO and Developmental partners at Hotel Japfü, Kohima, Dr. Sorhie highlighted the gathering about the NACP Phase-V program and expressed optimism to take the national AIDS and STD response towards attainment of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3.3 of ending the HIV & AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.
He said the epidemic could be ended through a comprehensive package of prevention, detection and treatment services for the whole population, with special focus on pregnant women, high risk groups, and people who were practicing high risk behaviour.
Dr. Sorhie said the program also introduces newer strategies consolidating and augmenting the gains, including setting-up of Sampoorna Suraksha Kendra (SSK) for providing a comprehensive package of services through a single window model for those HIV negative but “at risk population”, where SSK would cover prevention-test-treat-care continuum.
Speaking on 2022 theme, Dr. Sorhie highlighted the need to address the inequalities which were holding back progress in ending AIDS.
Dr Sorhie Shared that the Government of India had enacted an Act called the HIV & AIDS (Prevention & Control) Act 2017, to provide for the prevention and control of the spread of HIV and AIDS and for the protection of human rights of persons affected by HIV.
Dr Sorhie also informed that the additional secretary, H&FW, Nagaland is the HIV Ombudsman and so far, 80 complaints officers have been nominated from various departments / establishment.
Others who spoke at the programme included general secretary, KBPF Church, Dr Ruokuovilie Sachu, Kohima Press Club president, Alice Yhoshü, NNagaDAO president, Abou Mere, Kohima Law College (RRC Member) Kethosezo Tetso, legal consultant, H&FW Nagaland, Nchumbemo Mozhui and public health specialist, CDC India, New Delhi, Dr. Sudhir Chawla. Lanu Aier also shared his testimony. A minute of silence was also observed for those who lost their lives to AIDS.
Adopt & implement policies for quality service in remote areas
The need to adopt and implement strategy/policies to provide quality service to PLHIV, living in remote areas of the state, was highlighted during the observance of “World AIDS Day” at Chapel Hall, District Hospital Dimapur (DHD).
The programme was organised by District Aids Prevention and Control Unit (DAPCU) Dimapur in collaboration with District level network, partnered NGOs and development partners.
Speaking on the occasion as guest speaker, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dimapur, Dr. I. Moatemjen urged people from all sections of the society to “pressurize” the state government/policy makers to adopt and implement strategy to provide best service to PLHIV living in remote areas.
He also underscored the need for the state government, United Nations and the world leaders to equalize access to rights and services, advanced researches in science and medicine, donor funding by World Bank and project budgeting to ensure advanced systematic approach to end the global disease.
Lamenting the negligence of the world leaders in the ongoing fight to curb HIV & AIDS, Dr. Moatemjen said such negligence creates huge gap in processing the required facilities thus create imbalance for PLHIV in the society such as gender inequality, harmful masculinity, no proper access to treatment and lack of need facility.
While highlighting the plight of women with HIV, Dr. Moatemjen also stressed on the domestic violence and discrimination against them including inaccessibility to proper treatment.
Expressing concern over the rise in HIV cases globally, the CMO asserted the need to create more awareness and sensitisation programmes.
At the programme, Dimapur District Legal Service Association, panel lawyer, Tonika Shohe briefed the gathering about the legal aids, which are available for PLHIV while Dimapur Positive Women Association (D+WA) president, Mary Jimo stressed on importance of “living equality” in the society and urged LHIV to stand for their rights and not to hide.
Representative of Dimapur Pastor’s Fellowship, Vitoshe Swu spoke of the commitment and solidarity for PLHIV; special numbers were presented by PLHIV community, Guardian Angel and Lanujungla.
Community sensitisation vital for positive attitude & approach
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Phek, Kumar Ramnikant asserted the importance of sensitising the community on HIV & AIDS so that people could cultivate a positive attitude and approach towards PLHIV and to eliminate stigmatization and discrimination.
Speaking at the observance programme of “World AIDS Day” at Dr. Wethselo T. Mero Memorial Hall, District Hospital Phek, the DC highlighted the importance of treating PLHIV equally by the community and extending moral support to them and encouraging to have a positive attitude towards life.
Mero also suggested organising more seminars and awareness and sensitisation programmes to sensitise the public and also encourage PLHIV to come forward and avail ART.
In a short speech, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Phek Dr. Khriezotuo Paphino encouraged the participants to be ambassadors and agents of change in the district by creating awareness on HIV and AIDS.
At the programme, District Level Network president, Mese Letro also shared his life testimony while MO FI-ART DH Phek, Dr. Rovingunuo Vakha spoke on the significance of “World AIDS Day”
Citizens urged to rededicate to reduce HIV prevalence
District Health Society Longleng and District AIDS Control Society commemorated the “World AIDS Day”by organising a programme Thursday at EBRC Hall Longleng, wherein citizens of the district were urged to rededicate themselves to achieve World Health Organization (WHO)’s commitment to eliminate HIV & AIDS by 2030.
Special guest, Yingli College Longleng vice principal, Dr. B. Henshet Phom urged the people to rededicate themselves to achieve the goal to reduce HIV prevalence.
He further said that still 90% of the new HIV& AIDS infections are from marginalised sections of the societies and are therefore discriminated. Referring to the 2022 theme, Dr. Phom said every individual should be treated equally and given equal opportunities.
He also pointed out that it was not only the responsibility of the health department but people from every section of the society to fight against HIV & AIDS with collective efforts, including creating awareness, prevention, testing and treatment and also de- stigmatize PLHIV.
At the programme, MO District Hospital Longleng, Dr. Lipok Phom spoke on the significance of the day and short speeches were also delivered by representatives from District Legal Services Author Longleng, Longleng Town Baptist Pastors Fellowship, Phom Students Conference.
Walkathon advocates PLHIV rights
A walkathon to promote the rights of PLHIV was organised on 2022 “World AIDS Day” theme, “Equalize” from IMDH to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Mokokchung office. Students from School of Nursing, doctors and DAPCU Staff took part in a walkathon which was followed by a programme at the Conference Hall of CMO Mokokchung office. The programme was jointly organised by DAPCU, NMP+, TI NGOs and UN Mokokchung.
Speaking on the significance of the day, CMO Dr. Limatula Aier said the day provides a platform for people to support PLHIV.
Dr. Aier highlighted the need to spread the message of equality among the people especially for PLHIV and confront the prejudice against them.
Theme speaker, SDO (Civil), Longdiba Sangtam said transmission could be halted if people come together and work to minimise the transmission. He said timely testing could go a long way in containing and eliminating the epidemic.
In a testimony, a person with HIV testified that the treatment has enabled him to cope with daily activities and urged people to come forward for timely testing and to avail treatment and medication.
Peren: Peren district observed the “World AIDS Day” at Peren Town, Women Welfare Hall with Extra Assistant Commissioner (EAC) Peren, Er Seyievilie Pfiikri as special guest.
The programme was organised by DAPCU, Peren in collaboration with District Level Network Peren, RRC Peren Government College and Government Higher Secondary School Peren.
On the occasion, Er Seyievilie launched the free baseline investigation for initiation of ART and encouraged the gathering to take an active role in fighting against HIV & AIDS.
The significance of the day was shared by FIARTC counsellor, Pauzedibe and PE CAA Ahthibung, Lhaiboi shared her testimony.

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