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Nagaland’s MLAs pitch ideas to Bangkok AIDS conclave

By EMN Updated: Nov 29, 2013 11:25 pm

Dimapur, November 29

A delegation of legislators from the Nagaland Legislative Assembly was in Bangkok in Thailand recently. The legislators attended the International Conference on AIDS Asia & Pacific that was held from November 18 to the 23rd in the Thai city.The government leaders were led by Speaker of Nagaland Legislative Assembly Chotisuh Sazo. In the group were members of the Nagaland Legislators’ Forum on AIDS, members of the house Deputy Speaker Levi Rengma, member Toyang Chang, member Khekaho Assumi, member Mmhonlumo Kikon, member Amenba Yaden and State Consultant to the LFA (UNAIDS) Dr. Vinito L. Chishi, and Programme Assistant to the LFA (UNAIDS) Hukatoli Choppy.
The conference on AIDS was attended by representatives from across 80 countries. Parliamentarians, bureaucrats, nongovernmental organizations, community and social leaders, and various other stakeholders attended. They shared sharing experiences, and discussed common visions and goals under one banner of “Getting to Zero” (the motto suggests ‘zero’ new infection, zero stigma and discrimination, ‘zero’ death due to AIDS, etc).
Nagaland’s government representatives had the opportunity to represent Nagaland in two parliamentarian sessions along with other legislators from the Asian countries and pacific regions on November 20 and the 21st.
Deputy Speaker of the state’s legislative assembly Levi Rengma represented Nagaland in the session as a panelist in the first session. The session was Best Policy Practices on the achievement of Universal Access to Health Care with Particular Focus on HIV/AIDS. The session was chaired by Nandi Glassie, Health Minister of Cook Island, and moderated by John Hyde Deputy Director and former Parliamentary Health Secretary from West Australia). Other panelist were President of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Member of Bangladesh Parliament Tarana Halim, Member of Legislative Assembly of Manipur and Secretary of Manipur Legislators’ Forum on AIDs Dr. I. Ibohalbi Singh and Steve Kraus, director of UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Asia and Pacific.
The panelist shared their responses to the cause of halting HIV/AIDS in their respective country or state and how they are working towards the Millennium Development Goal of ‘Getting to Zero’. Steve Kraus shared the data across Asia and Pacific region and highlighted how the laws of the countries in the Asia and Pacific region are hindering “the HIV response.” He “encouraged the parliamentarians to spend some time with sex workers, “Men Having Sex with Men”, Trans Genders, Injecting Drug Users, and People Living with HIV” as a ‘starting point’ to ‘bring about a change in HIV/AIDS scenario in their respective country or state.’
Rengma also pitched in his experiences about the situation in Nagaland and how Legislators of Nagaland had come forward ‘in response to HIV/AIDS’ by contributing Rs. 1.0 lakh each and formed the Legislators’ Forum on AIDS with support from the UNAIDS.
He also shared that LFA is moving forward with its own plan of action towards “getting to zero” by reaching out to the villages with the “HIV message”, through the churches, strengthen cross border intervention, and enhance Political Will and support to reach the three ‘zeroes’ with emphasis on parent to child transmission.

By EMN Updated: Nov 29, 2013 11:25:00 pm