Himachal to provide free medicines to HIV patients

The Himachal Pradesh Government would be providing free medicine to the HIV affected people, besides reimbursing the traveling charges of the patient alongwith an attendant to visit antiretroviral centre for checkup and treatment and also provide financial assistance for the studies of the children of HIV/AIDS affected parents as also orphaned children who had lost their parents due to the disease. This was revealed by Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, while presiding over the First Meeting of Chairmen of Zila Parishads and Mayor on AIDS Awareness organized by the Health and Family Welfare Department here today.

Chief Minister said that his government would be providing full doze of free medicine to the HIV/AIDS affected patients to help prolong their lives as no permanent cure had so far been found to combat the dreaded disease. He said that the state had best health indicators and facilities of carrying all types of tests were available within the state while the HIV/AIDs problem was an incurable global phenomenon as exhaustive research was in progress and some positive outcome was expected in the near future. He said that until the cure was visible prevention and precautions were the only remedies which could save people from the disease.

Virbhadra Singh emphasized the need for mass awareness campaigns at all level so that people could know the facts behind the problem and need not fear unless they were tested positive. He said that the endeavour of the government could achieve success with the active cooperation of panchayati raj institution representatives, mahila and yuvak mandals which could play pivotal role in creating mass awareness and help people get themselves tested and examined free of charges in the government health institutions. He said that the public representatives had direct contact with the masses and address people on various occasions where the awareness about HIV/AIDS could also be made. He said that youth was more sensitive to the problem as most of the identified cases were those who were of less than 29 years of age and 40 percent cases detected were in women. He said that the platform of various village level meetings needed to be utilized to educate people about the disease so that message could percolate down to the farthest corner of the state. He said that awareness slogans and basic information required to be displayed for general information at the important places like bus stands, panchayat bhawans, corporation offices, schools and health institutions. He said that the parent teachers association could also play significant role in educating the young generation.

Chief Minister said that liberal attitude required to be adopted by the intellectuals of the society which were responsible for modulation of public opinion. He said that no discrimination should be made between the normal and HIV positive children and families since they needed support of the society to fight the disease. He said that children of the affected parents needed to given special attention so that they were not isolated in schools and provided every opportunity to progress on all fronts. He said that it was the moral duty of every citizen to help them lead a respectable and socially honorable life in the society.

Virbhadra Singh directed the medical authorities to the male and female health workers cadre was being converted into district cadre so that they were posted locally to deliver the best health services to the people. He said that rationalization of the para medics was being carried to make the health institutions more effective. He emphasized the need to carry health awareness campaigns at large number which also required to include the memography testing machine to examine the breast cancer problem amongst the women. He said that rural women were required to be examined intensively to save them from any health hazards.

Chief Minister said that the state government had succeeded in eradicating a number of age old dreaded diseases like lepers, tuberculosis and polio and emerged role model in delivering quality health services. He said that the state government had envisioned a housing programme ‘Suryodaya’ for permanent rehabilitation of the cured lepers in the state so that they were able to get medical attention and post curative facilities. He underlined the zero risk for all the dreaded diseases and the health department directed to gear up its machinery to achieve the objective.

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