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HIV advocacy is not enough, Legislators’ Forum told

By EMN Updated: Aug 06, 2013 1:58 am

Dimapur, August 5

PEOPLE living with HIV-AIDS in Mokokchung have suggested to the Legislators’ Forum on HIV-AIDS to go beyond advocacy initiatives and invest in practical care and treatment measures even as this PLHA community – mostly economically-marginalize people – continues to fight the epidemic.Instead of spending resources on advocacy programmes, the NMP+ said, it would be more profitable if the Legislators’ Forum on AIDs invest in the introduction of practical intervention programmes for PLHAs such as focusing on care and support and treatment; effective referral system; and quality counseling by appointing trained outreach workers as a medium.
The forum stated that the activities of the legislators’ group are “laudable”. However, “though commendable” when “we look into the welfare and benefit of the PLHAs, many of the activities do not aid towards the advantage of PLHAs. Sadly, to address, the activity such as advocacy has only yielded towards prevention, which we feel it is outdated because such activities has been in surf for a long time and today most of the people are aware of it.”
The current pace of HIV detection is increasing and so are the clients, and the increase has added more challenges and problem in reaching out the clients,” the forum said. “NMP+ has been facing shortage of man-power with only one outreach worker who has to reach out the six ranges under Mokokchung district which is a Herculean task. It has been our sincere effort since the inception of our organization.”
Mokokchung is a district with ten legislators having their own contribution toward the fight against the disease. “To our observation, LFA has conducted 7-8 advocacy programmes in the last 5-6 years. This has yielded a small impact towards this cause. It is our proposal, out of total amount collected annually only 5 lakhs investment can also meet all the programmes as mentioned above for the welfare of PLHAs,” the forum said.
“Mokokchung District has six ranges, as regards, it is our appeal if LFA could appoint an outreach worker each in all the ranges and a monitoring/evaluator personal to monitor the activities.”

Network of Mokokchung District People Living with HIV/AIDS

The Network of Mokokchung District People Living with HIV/AIDS (NMP+) is a district-level organization formed in 2006 by ‘positive members’ to fight the challenges faced by the people living with HIV/AIDS and working for their uplift, in Mokokchung.
“Since, its inception NMP+ has been working together with the positive for the infected and affected people in Mokokchung district by improving the overall quality of life and by giving a humane face to the pandemic,” a statement addressed to the Legislators’ Forum on HIV-AIDS received here today said. The organization has been spreading public awareness and educating people on HIV-AIDS pandemic, encouraging greater involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS at all levels, the statement appended by NMP+ president T Temsu Jamir said.
The forum’s other activities also include providing a range of services for the PLHAs and affected people as well as promoting care and support by enabling them to fight and live positively. The forum has been encouraging to access to treatment, to protect human rights of people affected by HIV AIDS and to end stigma and discrimination by promoting social acceptance of the affected people.
The NMP offered a glimpse of some of the organization’s achievements. The organization has been overseeing ‘midway home.’ It is a shelter-home with a two bedded room especially for PLHAs. When the PLHAs come for treatment, a lot of them do not get a hospitable offer from their own villagers/relatives, the forum said. To provide them a place for the discriminated PLHAs, the NMP+ has been offering the mid-way home.
Further, most of the clients live below poverty line and they are not able to afford the medicine prescribed by the doctors, the forum said in the statement. “Moreover, health centers do not have resources to meet the requirement of the client. Seeing the plight of PLHA community, our network and supporting staffs has been voluntarily contributing a part of their salary in procuring basic medicine and has been distributing it freely,” the forum said.
The forum is also providing linkages as well as training and sensitization programs. The NMP+ has tied up with various governmental/ non governmental agencies to provide nutritional support to the people living with HIV/AIDS. The NMP+ has also trained 55 members as peer educators and they have been voluntarily dispensing basic facts about HIV/AIDS in the rural areas where facts about HIV/AIDS is still shrouded in myths and misconception, the forums said.
The NMP+ is the lone ward of the Bharti Infratel Ltd within the North-East region under their Corporate Social Responsibility. Through this, the NMP+ has been conducting sensitization camps in the rural parts of Mokokchung. This initiative has been successfully educating rural people against the myths and misconception surrounding the disease. The success is reflected in the response given by villagers. “It has established that this programme is gaining momentum by leaps and bound that primarily working from grass root level has yielded positive outcome in this fight. At present, NMP+ has reached out and sensitized 50 villages under Mokokchung district and 3 places under Peren, Tuensang and Zunheboto districts. It is a journey of attainment and realization to harvest more goals and to commit more effort for vivid tomorrow,” NMP+ stated to the legislators.
Another charge that the NMP+ undertakes is in offering mobile health facilities such as ambulance services. “Sensitization programmes open a way to notice the real picture of suffering/ problem of the PLHAs. During our activities, NMP+ learnt about the PLHAs monetary problem, transportation setbacks and more. Owing to these problems faced by our clients, with a noble objective to provide free transportation, so that clients can access timely treatment, NMP+ generated fund to procure an ambulance. Today, we are offering free ambulance service for the PLHAs community,” the NMP+ said.

By EMN Updated: Aug 06, 2013 1:58:13 am