NE Conclave on HIV and AIDS begins
KOHIMA, SEPTEMBER 3
THREE-day North East Conclave-II on HIV and AIDS got underway Wednesday here in the state capital at Hotel Vivor. The programme, an initiation of National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), is being attended by NACO and Centre for Disease Control (CDC)-India officials, project directors of the State AIDS Control Societies (SACS) of the eight NE states, representatives of community networks and state government officials.
Addressing the inaugural programme of the conclave, country director CDC-India, Dr. Pauline Harvey lauded NACO for initiating the periodic conclave, creating a common platform for exchanging experiences of stakeholders towards curbing the HIV epidemic in the region. She said the conclave is an excellent step for development of strategies as well as an excellent opportunity to address challenges and also strengthen the response of community.
She informed that CDC will be providing technical support to the north east region in strengthening HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment including OST services which will be one of the major plans for the next five years beginning from April 2015.
Additional chief secretary Nagaland, CJ Ponraj, in his address underscored the need for flexibility in the working relationship between NACO and state agencies including the SACS. He remarked that the procedure of resource transfer in NACP programme should be streamlined.
Ponraj also requested NACO officials to recognize state experience in terms of programme requirement, as the state agencies are adequately experienced about the local dynamics related with implementation.
He pointed out that the success in combating HIV is not uniform among different states in the country as new infections are reportedly declining in the south while the prevalence in the north east tells a different story.
Voicing concerns that the annual prevalence rate of HIV is increasing in the north east region, the official expressed hope that innovative policies will be discussed and framed during the three-day conclave to bridge the gaps and bring in new vigour to tackle the menace of HIV and AIDS.
Highlighting the aims and objectives of the programme, NACO deputy general (TI), Dr. Neeraj Dhingra said major issues, decisions and progress of the north east states in implementation of NACP programme will be deliberated. He also stated that delineation of responsibilities of all stakeholders such as NACO, SACS, community and other players is needed to get maximum benefit from the programme with wide coverage as per plan.
The Conclave is strategized to facilitate discussions about the epidemic of HIV in the north east states, assess the NACP implementation by the states and to collectively develop appropriate and localized solutions for the response by the states to address the epidemic.
Earlier, principal secretary for Health & Family Welfare Sentiyanger Imchen delivered the welcome address while VHS Dr. J Williams proposed the vote of thanks.