CM Biren elated as HIV/AIDS infection rate in state dips

Expressing satisfaction on collective efforts of the government, NGOs, doctors and public fructifying in checking further spread of HIV/AIDS in the state, chief minister N Biren called upon all sections of the society to continue working for achieving the goal of complete eradication of the pandemic disease.

Speaking as chief guest of World AIDS Day - 2017 observance held under theme ‘Right to Health’ at 1st Bn Manipur Rifles ground here on Friday, the chief minister credited government agencies like Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS) as well as NGOs and doctors for the appreciable decline in HIV transmission and infection rate in the state.

Stating that Manipur presently is ranked fifth in the transmission chart from being at the undesirable top position for the past many years, the chief minister stressed that there should be no laxity on the part of the stakeholders till the target for ‘Zero Infection’ rate has been accomplished.

According to a source, Manipur’s progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS was confirmed during a recently held conference at Kolkata which was participated by medical professionals and agencies of different states, which are actively involved in the anti-AIDS campaign.

Ironically, the north-eastern states continue to occupy the top five slots with Mizoram topping the chart, in terms of HIV transmission, at 1.19 per cent of its total population in the category of antenatal clinic attendees (ANC). Against the national average of 0.28 per cent transmission rate, the latest findings (2017) put forth at the Kolkata session has Nagaland in the second place (0.8 pc) followed by Meghalaya (0.68), Tripura (0.56) and Manipur (0.34 per cent).

In the men having sex with men (MSM) category, another determinant for HIV/AIDS infection, Manipur ranked top at 9.2 per cent while the figures for Nagaland and Assam were respectively 7.75 and 2.4 per cent.

Among the intravenous drug users (IDU), Manipur found itself in the third position at 7.7 per cent, below Mizoram (19.8) and Tripura (8.5 pc), while Meghalaya (3.2) and Nagaland (1.5) too continue to fight the menace.

The source also informed that Mizoram has highest number of female sex workers at 24.7 per cent, followed by Meghalaya (5.94 pc), Nagaland (3.6) and Manipur (1.4 per cent).

Continuing his speech at the observance function, chief minister Biren informed that the state government will acquire equipment for Hepatitis-C testing in January next year and expressed hope that installation of the machine would provide great relief to the persons, who are living HIV/HCV co-infection.

As drug addiction is one of the factors for spread of HIV virus the government has been launching mass drives against drugs and other intoxicants, Biren said, adding that the state government is all set to implement different social security schemes to support needy people, differently-abled persons and widows.

Expressing resentment over reports that some rehabilitation centres declined to admit drug abusers who wanted to give up the habit, the CM hoped that MACS officials will closely monitor activities of the rehab centres and justify their existence or receipt of fund.

While recounting about the announcement for free diagnosis of 57 different items in government healthcare centres, Biren conceded that such noble initiative will never fructify without the doctors’ co-operation.

He further asked officials concerned to ensure that the quality of diagnosis equipment and service are not inferior to that of the test done by private institutes.

Urging the public to immediately lodge complaints at Grievance Cell and Anti-Corruption Cell opened at CM’s secretariat if they come across any irregularities on the part of government employees including doctors and other health workers, Biren informed the gathering that all the reasonable and logical complaints/grievances reach his table the next day.

As the functional president, Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayantakumar observed that a strong and collective determination is required to tackle the menace of HIV/AIDS.

Among others, Forest and Environment Minister Th Shyamkumar, Manipur Industrial Development Corporation (MANIDCO) chairman Yumnam Radheshyam, Manipur Pollution Control Board (MPCB) chairman Laishram Radhakishore, Tamenglong MLA Samuel Jendai, Naoriya Pakhangklakpa MLA S Subhaschandra, chief secretary RR Rashmi, administrative secretaries and head of department were also present on the occasion.

Apart from releasing a book entitled, ‘The Pink Book: Your Guide for Safe and Nutritious Food at Home’, the CM also launched a Mobile Food Testing Laboratory vehicle to mark the occasion.

Later, the Chief Minister along with other dignitaries inspected the stalls of different NGOs and SHGs put up at the observance venue.

Prizes for different competitions conducted in connection with the observance earlier by Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS), were also distributed on the occasion.

On the other hand, in connection with the observance of World AIDS Day, a free health camp for ‘people living with HIV’ (PLHIV) was conducted at Yaipha Lamjing Lup community hall, Pishum Ningom Leirak, during which local MLA and health minister L Jayantakumar handed over cash incentives to the PLHIVs.

As chief guest of the function, he also announced revival of the scheme to extend monthly financial assistance of Rs 300 each to 104 PLHIVs from his MLA LADF.

Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol (CADA) also observed World AIDS Day under the theme ‘Right to Health’ at its head office at Pureiromba Khongnangkhong.

MACS joint director Mongjam Abhiram, CADA president-in-charge Hijam Priyokumar and Meitei Leimarol Sinnai Shang (MLSS) chief functionary MC Reeta attended the function as chief guest, president and guest of honour respectively.

Speaking on the occasion, CADA secretary general Deepanjit Ningthoujam informed that there are more than 45,000 PLHIVs in the state and they need the right to live a healthy lifestyle. The government needs to take up certain initiatives to ensure this right to the people living in this condition. He also stressed the need to intensify the works of CADA to stop drug menace in the state, which is the root cause of HIV-AIDS in the state.

He appealed to the state government to adopt strict policy to fight drug smuggling and its impacts in the state. He also appealed to the people to show love and care to PLHIVs instead of discriminating them.

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