Nagaland minister for health and family welfare S Pangnyu Phom on Monday urged the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) to consider the challenges of the north-eastern states and work out strategy and allocate resources as per the need of each state to address the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the region effectively.
Phom was addressing the first North East Multi Media campaign, organized by the Nagaland State AIDS Control Society, on ‘North East United Against HIV/AIDS’ at Kohima local ground on Monday.
He said it is very unfortunate that three north-eastern states on Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram are amongst the three highest HIV prevalent states in the country.
However, he said, the leadership and commitment provided at the national level to achieve the 90-90-90 targets to eliminate HIV and AIDS epidemic by 2030 are much appreciated and well received at the state level.
In pursuit to achieve the 90-90-90 by 2020 and to eradicate the HIV and AIDS epidemic by 2030, the minister said a lot of innovative strategy and policy has been launched at the national level like ‘Test and Treat Policy’ and the passing of the HIV and AIDS Bill, 2017, was a landmark achievement of the National Programme.
Phom said Nagaland requires the technical and financial support of NACO to implement the HIV and AIDS, Bill 2017 in its true sense and spirit.
Mass awareness and sensitisation among service providers, community members, public and private sector, NGOs and the general public is critical for its right implementation, he added.
Phom said holding of the multi-media campaign on HIV and AIDS bears significance for the Northeast region as it is one of the mediums to reach out to the youths and general population with the message – HIV prevention, care, and treatment.
He thanked the NACO for having the confidence in Nagaland to take up the maiden initiative of hosting the first NE multi-media event.
The State AIDS Control Society in partnership with NGOs, FBOs, private partners, law enforcement agencies and other development partners are taking up the critical role of delivering the services towards achieving the national goal at the state level, Phom said.
He said Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has been supportive and concerned about the issues surrounding the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
He said the legislators have been contributing Rs 1 lakh each to the Legislators’ Forum on AIDS (LFA) for the last ten years and committed their support till March 2019. A lot of good work has been done and have seen progress in the decline of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, he added.
Phom said the innovative strategy and approaches for service delivery to key populations through the Targeted Intervention and Opioid Substitution Therapy has shown positive outcomes and result.
He also said that the partnership provided by the NGOs working at the forefront in the grassroots is appreciable. He urged the National Program to identify the benefits of this partnership and ensure that adequate financial and technical resources are allocated to generate the desired program output.
Appreciating the work and support of the community, the NGOs and all the development partners in the state, he called upon all the young people to remain safe, avail HIV test and go for treatment if found HIV positive.
NACO deputy director general Dr Naresh Goel and Inspector General of Assam Rifles (North) Major Gen. Pradeep Nair attended the programme as special guests.