HIV/AIDS spreading fast in western Odisha: The Pioneer

August 20, 2010 at 7:17 pm 2 comments

Following report is from The Pioneer:

Ask anybody about western Odisha, and the answer would be of a backward area where concentration of poverty, mass migration and malnutrition is high, even though it has a high concentration of mineral and mining is common. Unfortunately, western Odisha is also lags in healthcare facilities.

Recent reports of HIV/AIDS spreading its tentacles here with as many as 184 persons succumbing to AIDS in 12 backward districts of the State have made the situation grim. There are around 2,400 HIV positive people in this region, even as the United Nations has declared combating HIV/AIDS as one of its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and universal access to health services as one of the basic human rights.

According to a report of Odisha State AIDS Control Society, there are a total of 17,708 people living with HIV in Odisha out of which 11,052 are men and 6,656 are women. Out of 1,407 AIDS patients, 1,109 have succumbed to the dreaded disease, says the report.

In 12 districts of Odisha – Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Bargarh, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Nawarangpur, Rayagada, Balangir, Sonepur, Boudh and Kandhamal – a total of 184 persons have died and 2,395 people are HIV positive.

In Jharsuguda district, a total of 114 cases have been detected so far while four have died from AIDS. In Sambalpur district, there are 673 HIV positive cases and out of 39 AIDS patients reported, 33 have succumbed to the disease. In Bargarh district, 180 HIV positive cases have been detected and six have died from AIDS. In Nuapada district, 150 persons have are HIV positive and 19 people have died from AIDS. In Kalahandi district, 264 people have been detected as HIV positive and three have succumbed to the decease. In Rayagada district, 431 have been identified as HIV positive and 51 have died from AIDS. In Nawarangpur district, 409 have been identified as HIV positive and 15 have died from AIDS. In Boudh district, 326 persons have been identified as HIV positive. In Kandhamal district, 32 have been identified as HIV positive and 15 have died from AIDS. In Sonepur district, 17 persons have been identified as HIV positive.

Balangir, which is known for its acute poverty and mass migration, has now 465 HIV positive cases and 39 have died so far. However, official figures state that 327 people have been identified as HIV positive.

Counselors have been appointed in all the 14 blocks of the district but there are only five technicians.

It is futile to expect a person of Tureikela or Muribahal to come to Titlagarh for blood test. The appointment of laboratory technicians is done by the Odisha State AIDS Control Society. We have nothing to say, says an official here. We are trying to manage by imparting training to our technicians on HIV testing and posting them in migrant-prone blocks of the districts, said CDMO Dr PC Sahu.

The second ART centre in western Odisha was opened in Balangir after Burla in May this year. But it has not opened in a full-fledged manner as there is no permanent staff and only one medical officer and a pharmacist has been posted.

According to reports, the ART centre at Burla is not functioning effectively. We have to inform officials of the ART centre about the patients. Patients who come here are allegedly harassed by the officials. The drug adherence centre at Burla does not function and patients face a lot of inconvenience. There is a network of HIV positive people in Balangir which is called the Balangir Network of Positive People but they are not able to do anything.

Even as 327 people have been detected HIV positive, this is just the tip of the iceberg given the mass migration. The number of infected people can go up to one per cent of the total population or 1,500 people of the district.

Ignorance among people, lackadaisical attitude among personnel involved in combating HIV/AIDS and absence of laboratory technicians fail to give the real picture. After the ICTC centre started in Titlagarh, the number of HIV positive cases went up rapidly. If the ICTC centres function with full-time laboratory technicians, the number is expected rise.

There is every possibility of the number of HIV positive cases going up to 1,500 in Balangir district alone and other migrant-prone backward districts like Nuapada, Kalahandi and Rayagada are equally vulnerable, points out an NGO activist.

The integrated counseling and testing facility (ICTC) has been provided only in districts belonging to A and B category in HIV prevalence while the C category districts are being overlooked. It must be noted that the prevalence of HIV is high in regions where there is acute poverty and migration, argues an official here.

Ironically, even after six years of elapse of the OSCAS, its website does not provide any data or information about the prevalence of the disease.

According to reports, major modes of transmission of HIV/AIDS are unsafe sex followed by blood transfusion and it affects mostly the youth in the age group of 14 to 35 years.

Migration has been one of the major factors in western Odisha for the spread of HIV among the rural people. The spouses of migrant labourers of western Odisha are vulnerable to the disease but neither they can challenge and defy the patriarchal system nor can get rid of the infection without preventive measures.

The health rights of the rural poor need to be addressed through inclusive approach. The HIV testing facility is still not available in all CHCs. The absence of laboratory technicians in ICTCs makes the entire system non-functional, said Sashikant Mallick of ActionAid.

Changing lifestyle, poverty, mass migration and lack of access of universal treatment of HIV people have worsened the situation, besides the stigma and discrimination attached with the disease.

While the big bosses implementing the projects are getting huge salary and luxury, bottom level workers are fed up with heavy work entrusted by their officers, rued an NGO activist.

Worse, even as the United Nations has put combating HIV/AIDS as one of the millennium development goals (MDG), and India is a signatory to it, it has not even started and even worse, it is spreading and absence of testing facilities and personnel has been causing much inconvenience.

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Entry filed under: Athmallik, Balangir, Balangir Medical College (WODC), Bargarh, Boudh, Center For Disease Detection, Kalahandi, Deogarh, ESIC dental and nursing college,Kalahandi, ESIC Medical College Rourkela, Health Care Facility, HIV/AIDS diagnosis facilities, Ispat General Hospital, Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Region watch, Rourkela Medical College (WODC), SAIL medical college, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Sardar Raja Medical College (WODC), Kalahandi, Subarnapur, Sundergarh, VSS Medical College.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. CHANDRAHAS  |  August 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Your talking about AIDS/HIV only but what about SWINE Flue which has started in a big way in TITLAGARH area and there are deaths.

    The local hospital has no means to detect or diagnosize.

    Even they have no vascines to administate to protect people in this area.

    Odisha govt or the District officials are unable to takle the grave disease. You can not a vescine in Bolangir to protect your self.

    Let the Media have to blow outthe occurance of this disease and the precaution to be observed to save people of this area ?

    Reply
  • 2. Subhankar Mahapatra  |  December 5, 2010 at 5:55 am

    Talking about AIDS is now not a worthy fact without creating awareness among ourselves. It is mostly mandatory that sex edu. must b given to students from school itself, such that they can even create sex awareness to stop illegel sex & prevent the deadly dangerous disease HIV.

    Reply

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