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CM’s call to reduce HIV prevalence to 1%
Correspondent KOHIMA, JUN 25 (NPN):
Published on 26 Jun. 2009 12:25 AM IST
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Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio Thursday called for a concert effort to bring down HIV prevalence rate of the state from the present 1.2% to below 1% by the end of this year. “Our country has set a goal to halt and reverse the epidemic by 2010. In order to achieve this goal, the role of our Legislators in giving the political leadership is very crucial, and it calls for the personal attention of each and every one of us”. Rio said this in his speech which was read out in his absentia at the Annual General Meeting of Legislators’ Forum on HIV and AIDS (LFA) held at the Assembly Conference Hall here today. Rio also stressed on a paradigm shift in the mission of prevention of HIV infection from urban population to rural tribal populace who are poor, marginalized, innocent , ignorant and vulnerable group of communities needing help and guidance. With regard to this, he called upon the elected representative to boldly address the issues arising from HIV and AIDS in their respective constituencies. He also expressed optimism that the leadership given by the members of Legislative Forum in Nagaland will further be strengthened in the state. Being the second AGM of the LFA, the chief minister also underlined the need for careful evaluation of the past performance and assesses how meaningfully it can move forward with the commitment this year. He also expressed happiness that UNAIDS is launching World AIDS Day this year with the theme “Universal Access and Human Rights” and termed theme as very appropriate. Further, he revealed that State Council on AIDS has deliberated on State AIDS Policy and approved the same on April 29 last. However, the same policy is yet to go through the required procedures and formalities for implementation, he added. Convenor of LFA and state minister for health and family welfare Kuzholuzo Nienu who delivered keynote addressed spoke on the same line with the chief ministers’ speech. In his concluding remarks, NLA Speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie recalled that LFA was formally launched in Nagaland in 2003 but it remain non functional for sometimes and only in September 2007 with the initiative of the chief minister, Speaker and minister for health its activities was accelerated. Pointing out that adverse and evil effect of HIV and AIDS considered as a dreaded disease with no state or country free from its clutches,he advocated ceaseless efforts from every angle to combat disease. “It is one of the biggest challenges before us today,”he said. He also called upon the legislators to be at the forefront in spearheading various activities to educate the people in order to eradicate the dreaded disease and save Naga society from the consequences. “Being representative of the people and closely associated with the people, your effort will have significant result in improving the situation,” he said. Further, Kiyaneilie appealed to all members to play crucial role in leading the Naga society by discussing the problem at every forum so as to bring the issue to public notice. “When people are equipped with the relevant information about its adverse effect and consequences, it can bring down the spread of HIV epidemic in Nagaland to a great extent”, he added. Earlier, Dr. Neiphi Kire, Project Director, NSACS gave a powerpoint presentation on the update scenario of HIV and AIDS in the state while, Dr. Mhabemo Ovung from Zion Hospital Dimapur gave a presentation on Clinical Picture of AIDS and STI. Representative of UNAIDS, Upahar who also attended the LFA AGM also gave brief exhortation on the occasion. Both chief minister Neiphiu Rio and the Opposition leader Chingwang Konyak could not attend the 2nd LFA AGM held today due to pre occupation. In the business session, the Annual Report of LFA was presented by Dr. Vinito L. Chishi, State Coordinator- LFA Nagaland. Audit report and ongoing plan was also laid in the house.

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