ARK Foundation holds awareness on HIV, TB, substance abuse
DIMAPUR — ARK Foundation, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, the National Health Mission (NHM) (Nagaland), and D Block Panchayat, Kohima, held a sensitisation programme on tuberculosis (TB) and its comorbidities at D Block Panchayat, Hall Kohima, on Saturday.
According to a press release, the programme also addressed HIV and substance abuse, with the goal of sensitising participants to a collective response.
Shanchobeni, programme coordinator at the ARK Foundation, chaired the programme and emphasised the importance of collaboration as well as the gravity of various diseases. She informed the audience about the “TB Elimination 2025” strategic plan, which is part of the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP).
Dr. Vezokholü Theyo, state TB officer, NTEP/NHM, discussed the signs and symptoms of tuberculosis, the treatment process and the facilities available at various government hospitals, including PHC and CHC, as well as the various schemes available and encouraged the participants to take advantage of such schemes.
Sentimongla, the district programme officer (DPO) of the District AIDS Prevention and Control Unit (DAPCU), led the session on the basics of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). She emphasised the nature of the virus and the four major modes of transmission, which include sharing an infected needle or syringe, unprotected sex, parent-child transmission, and infected blood transfusion.
She also stressed the importance of early antiretroviral therapy (ART) and adherence, as well as the precautionary measures that must be followed, such as abstaining from sex before marriage, being faithful and correct, and consistent use of condoms.
On STIs, she discussed the signs and symptoms that are commonly seen in the genital areas and noted that they may cause pain during urination, sex, and irritation or infection in the infected area, and any untreated STIs may lead to additional complications or even loss of fertility, depending on the case.
She mentioned the various HIV/STI treatment facilities available for free at various government health centres.
Ketho Angami, president of the ARK Foundation, outlined the harmful effects of substance abuse in light of the resurgence of addiction among today’s youth and the need for immediate action. He said that alcohol is a drug that causes severe health, social, and psychological complications, and that alcohol consumption should be viewed as a serious health risk.
He talked about the widespread use of sunflower (drugs) among youths, which he said is a major social concern not only for the users but also for their families and urged the youth to make healthy choices by staying away from drugs. He also lamented the widespread availability of gateway drugs such as ganja, tobacco, and nicotine products, as well as how their use had become quite common among adolescents.
He cautioned the participants that using such gateway drugs serves as a springboard to more serious drug use.
Also read: ARK Foundation holds community meeting on TB