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Manipur Strikes A Chord With International Community On AIDS Day

IMPHAL, Dec 1: Manipur today joined the International community in observing the 23rd World AIDS Day under the theme of ‘˜Universal Access and Human Rights‘.

The main function was organized under the aegis of Manipur AIDS Control Society at the parade ground of Ist Manipur Rifles here with Governor Gurbachand Jagat as chief guest.

At the occasion, the Governor launched a Comprehensive HIV prevention, care and support for the inmates of Sajiwa Jail.

The initiative supported partly by UNODC will be implemented jointly by the Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS), State Department of Prisons and Manipur Network of Positive People (MNP+).

The Governor also released the draft revised State AIDS Policy. Together with Chief Minister O Ibobi, and also launched the mobile ICTC and IEC van.

Addressing the gathering, the Governor said that the State AIDS Policy, the first of its kind in the country, which was drafted in 1996 needs to be amended to suit the evolving nature of the virus.

Acknowledging the role of the NGOs in fighting the epidemic and appreciating the swiftness with which JACs are formed and issues highlighted in the State, the Governor said that similar promptness and effort is necessary to fight HIV.

‘I would be happy to read that the various Lups, civil societies and students’ bodies have instituted a cell to address issues related to HIV/AIDS’, he said.

In his presidential address, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh observed that developmental and welfare measures for the people being taken up by the Government would come to naught if everyone is going to die prematurely.

No human society can exist with infrastructure alone. So, everyone of us should join hands in arresting the spread of HIV/AIDS.

He further said that while HIV/AIDS posed a serious threat to the wellbeing of the people, unwanted activities of the armed UGs have affected normalcy in the State.

Killing among ourselves would never bring any development and we need to understand this fact.

While informing that the Government is considering possible help that could be extended to women and children affected by insurgency, the Chief Minister also announced that a cash reward of Rs 3 lakhs would be given to each of the football players of Manipur team which won the championship for North East recently as well as Rs 5 lakhs, Rs 3 lakhs and Rs 2 lakhs respectively to the gold, silver and bronze medals in the recent Asian Games.

Sports Minister B Biren Singh was the chief guest of the function which was also attended by many other Ministers, MLAs, representatives of NGOs and students.

Observing the World AIDS Day at the Assembly complex here Manipur Legislatures’ Forum on HIV and AIDS (MLFA) has emphasized the need to address issues faced by people living with HIV and AIDS and infected and affected children.

Speaking at the occasion MLFA Secretary Dr I Ibohalbi said that the governing council of the forum is trying to come up with a bill to provide various clinical investigations free of cost to PLHIVs at Government hospitals.

‘It is difficult to bear such expenses because a lot of test has to be done and many even do not have money to travel to ART centers’, he said.

Members of the forum also distributed blankets to around 200 children who came to participate in the World AIDS Day observation at the Manipur State Assembly. This year, the observation has provided an opportunity for the forum members to interact with children infected and affected by the epidemic.

‘It’s a rare occasion when political leaders of the state get to interact with them (children), this will give the form members a firsthand account of issues that children in the state are facing’, Sushil Huidrom, State Coordinator, UNAIDS.

Manipur Network of Positive People (MNP+) observed the day at its Yaiskul Hiruhanba Leikai office premises with former member of Manipur Human Rights Committee retired Col RK Rajendro Singh as chief guest and vice president of MNP+ W Ajitkumar as functional president.

HIV/AIDS Consultant Physician of Nodal Office, JN Hospital Dr K Priyokumar and chief editor of ISTV Rupachandra Yumnam were also present at the occasion as guests of honor.

Speaking at the occasion, RK Rajendro said that youth and women in Manipur should be aware of health problem being posed by HIV/AIDS and participate in the policy programs taken up by the Government and other Non-Governmental organizations.

Rupachandra pointed out that HIV/AIDS and activism came about much earlier in Manipur.

At the beginning, the work of the activists was appreciative and energetic. But today, they are busy in their laptop and sitting on the revolving chair. Now, they are only looking for funds instead of fighting for the rights of the people living with HIV/AIDS, he alleged.

Further, Rupachandra pointed out that HIV/AIDS is a very big issue in a small State like Manipur. So, there is the need for collective effort in combating the epidemic.

In Churachandpur district, World AIDS Day was observed under the joint aegis of Joint NGOs and District AIDS Preventive Control Unit with Deputy Commissioner Jacintha Lazarus as chief guest.

Speaking at the occasion, Jacintha observed that in this modern day every individual should be given their due rights like life to right, equality, security and human rights.  District AIDS Officer, Churachandpur Dr VC Tonsing presided over the function.

The World AIDS day was also observed by Social Awareness Service Organization (SASO) at its Uripok Sinam Leikai head office today.

The Chandel branch of SASO also joined hands with Network of Chandel Positive People (NCP+), Chandel Network of Positive People (CNP+) and Sneha Bhavan in observing the day.

Observing the day, Community Effective Response Organization (CERO), a CBO of SASO in Imphal West presented slide and film shows on the issue of HIV/AIDS at Uripok Bachaspati Leikai.

Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI), TTS Unit, Imphal also observed World AIDS Day at its TTS chapel today along with showing solidarity to people affected by AIDS.

GC CRPF Imphal organized an AID awareness program on the occasion of World AIDS day observance today. The seminar was attended by DIGP AV Chauhan, DIGP PS Rajora, officers, staff, families, jawans and children of KV Langjing. Senior counselor, ART (RIMS) Philip and Counselor, ICTC (RIMS) Suranjanpriya were among the resource persons who made their presentations during the seminar. On the occasion of World AIDS Day, 23 AR also organized an AIDS awareness camp cum lecture on HIV/AIDS to educate the local populace of Shangshak.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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