Imphal: World AIDS Day was observed under the theme “End inequalities. End Aids. End Pandemics” at the 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles ground, here Wednesday by Manipur Aids Control Society.
Governor La. Ganesan and Chief Minister N. Biren Singh attended the function as chief guest and president respectively. Minister Th Biswajit Sing, Chief Secretary D. Rajesh Kumar, Addl. Chief Secretary Vumlunmang Vualnam and Manipur Aids Control Society Project Director Haobam Rosita, also attended the function.
Addressing the function as Chief Guest La Ganesan said World AIDS Day, 2021, is a very important event all over the world particularly in the State of Manipur, where the people have experienced the impact of the HIV epidemic for the last more than three decades. Many innocent young people have died due to AIDS-related diseases in Manipur. A number of children have been made orphans and many young women widows, due to this pandemic.
The 1st day of December, every year is observed as World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day, 2021 is being observed to attain access for all to HIV prevention, the State has already made the AIDS Policy of Manipur and have the distinction to be the first and only state in India to have a State AIDS Policy as early as 1996. Now, it is imperative to make modifications and improvements in the policy to suit the changing circumstances and trends of the epidemic. Experts and intellectuals in this field should give their suggestions from time to time for making the policy appropriate as per the situation and it will be of immense help in treatment, care and support and address the critical need for protection of human rights, he added.
He further said that statistics indicated the magnitude of the problem in Manipur during the early stage in the high alarming state in the sense that many pregnant housewives, who represent the general population infected by HIV. However, it is gratifying to note that for the last decade infection among mothers as well as youngsters have been significantly diminishing. It is satisfying to know that the HIV prevalence rate among Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), men having sex with men and female sex workers have significantly come down during the last two decades and added that small children should get utmost care and protection in this regard. It is the responsibility of the society at large, particularly women, to have a greater involvement in the fight against HIV and AIDS to safeguard the future of Manipur, he added.
The Governor also said that our State is renowned throughout the world for excellence in the field of games and sports, Art and Culture and a beautiful composite civilization comprising a number of small ethnic groups. However, it is unfortunate that Manipur is identified as an epicentre of HIV and AIDS today. Manipur is one of the six high prevalence states in the country, identified by the National AIDS Control Organization, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. He appealed to all young women of the State to remove their fear and ignorance with regard to HIV issues. This is not only for their own protection but also for saving the future generation. We must promote voluntary HIV testing before marriage in this regard.
He said that it is encouraging to know that the National AIDS control programme is being successfully implemented in the State with funding through the NACO, Government of India. The Manipur AIDS Control Society is the nodal agency for the implementation of this programme. The programme is implemented through active collaboration between various Government and non-Government Agencies.
Further, Governor said that the HIV and AIDS issue is no longer a mere health issue. It has covered all aspects of life – social, economic, legal, human rights and even political. The all-out and concerted efforts of the health officials and concerned activists of the State will not be sufficient in tackling this issue. Civil Society Organisations have to be actively involved in the issue. Appreciating the role of non-Government Organizations and agencies during the last three decades in providing preventive services and care to the people the Governor said without the active role of the NGOs, the situation would have been worse.
Governor also launched Link Art Centre for Sub-District Hospital, Mao Senapati District to make ART more accessible in far-flung areas.
Speaking on the occasion as president if the function, Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that from December onwards all the HIV patients will get ART medicines through home delivery. He also said that the present government is proactively working to bring development to the State. UPSC Coaching Centre for face to face learning at the cost of 2.8 crores have been launched, a statue of 19 Olympians and Olympiad Park will be constructed at Sangaithel. To improve road connectivity, the construction of two bridges located between Imphal and Jiri have been completed and inaugurated and construction of others are in full swing. The Government has taken initiative to tackle the pandemics and more than 180 vehicles for a house to house and village to village people vaccination were deployed with doctors, nurses and employees.
Later, Governor and team inspected MACS departmental Stores and interacted with the storekeepers.
Senior officers, Medical Practitioners, NGOs, representatives of the positive community, civil society organizations, officials of the health department and other dignitaries attended the function