Dharansala (April 13): Kangra district has witnessed 72% increase in number of beneficiaries under NRHM welfare schemes for HIV-affected kids, with Palampur and Dehra areas having most number of beneficiaries.
Under NRHM, financial assistance is given to children of HIV positive/AIDS orphans up to the age of 18 years for their living and educational requirements. “In Kangra district there are 348 beneficiaries under his scheme, including 125 new cases this year, reflecting an increase of 72% in number of beneficiaries covered over the previous year,” said Dr KS Dogra, Chief Medical Officer, Kangra. Of these, 164 (47%) are girl children, 229 (66%) are orphans and 40 (12%) are HIV positive. The highest number of beneficiaries is from Dehra and Palampur, followed by Dharamsala and Baijnath regions. Most of them are in the age group of 7-12 years
District AIDS programme officer Dr RK Sood told that banks are also helping these unfortunate children as they are opening zero balance bank accounts for the children to enable them to receive the assistance at their doorstep. He attributed the increase in utilisation of the scheme to extensive awareness activities through inter-sectoral approach, NGOs like Himachal Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Red Ribbon Clubs, Anganwari workers, and self-help groups.”
Staff of ICTC centres of National AIDS Control Organisation also help the beneficiaries open bank accounts, and also take steps to protect their confidentiality. With a view of expand access to quality RCH and HIV services, broad areas of convergence have been identified between NACO and NRHM to harness optimal utilization of available resources of both programmes, and avoid duplication. To improve access to services for HIV detection including 24 x 7 ICTC and ICTC, discussion on HIV test for all antenatal mothers at Village Health and Sanitation Committee, HIV-TB Cross referrals, Blood storage centres, decentralized sexually transmitted infections treatment facilities in order to improve health of the people of the state.
Panchayati Raj representatives, Zila Parishad and BDC members have also shown enthusiasm by providing referrals to ICTCs, ZP member Rama Bhuria even adopted an affected girl child. Village health and sanitation committees and Panchayat gram sabhas are becoming effective platforms for open discussion on HIV prevention, with NGOs playing the role of catalyst through a voluntary health literacy drive, including dispelling misconceptions related to the disease, and facilitating interaction of ICDS, PRI.