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State approves NSHA Policy
Correspondent KOHIMA:
Published on 30 Apr. 2009 12:21 AM IST
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Nagaland State AIDS Council (NSAC), led by state chief minister Neiphiu Rio Wednesday approved and adopted Nagaland State HIV and AIDS (NSHA) Policy. The policy was deliberated and approved by representatives from the legislature, NSAC, NSACS, NGOs during the first meeting of Nagaland State AIDS Council at Assembly secretariat. Presiding the meeting, Neiphiu Rio said the policy was historic and expressed hope that it would address important issues of People Living with HIV and AIDS, and fulfill their aspirations. Rio urged for a concerted effort of the government, NGOs, civil bodies, and the like to reduce the status of Nagaland from a high HIV prevalent state to a low status. Maintaining that state has good network of infrastructure and resources to tackle the issue, Rio urged that available facilities are put to optimum level right down to the grass root level. Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS) project director, Dr. Neiphi Kire said the tragedy of HIV and AIDS was death, and that it has tremendous impact on the socio-economy and psychology of the society. Asserting that state HIV and AIDS Policy was a long standing demand from related network and NGOs, Dr. Kire expressed hope that the policy would address the needs of HIV and AIDS affected and infected people. The main objectives of the NSHA Policy include prevention of spread of HIV and AIDS by adopting comprehensive preventive and harm Reduction strategies, reduction of stigma and discrimination, quality health care and favourable socio-economic environment to the infected and affected, promotion of ownership within and outside the government, provide political leadership irrespective of parties, advocacy to the public leaders and creation of network with other agencies and societies. The programme management under the policy calls for creation of HIV and AIDS cells in the state level led by the state chief minister; district level led by DCs and district CMOs; and village level led by village councils. The policy also includes advocacy and social mobilization to political leaders, government departments, civil societies and mass based organizations; to empower the media and Information Education Communication (IEC) with factual information; capacity building, monitoring and evaluation of all activities to control HIV and AIDS, research studies and development, resources for meeting the challenges of HIV and AIDS. The policy provides special emphasis to the needs of women and children, and also states that protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedom for all is essential to reduce vulnerability of HIV and AIDS. The policy also states that the state should empower and protect People Living with HIV and AIDS, provide attainable standard of care and treatment for them, take measures to prevent stigma and discrimination attached to HIV and AIDS, take preventive steps to stop spreading of HIV and AIDS through targeted intervention, harm reduction programme for key population, primary prevention programmes, health care services, etc.

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