The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M), which is in ceasefire with the Centre since 1997, has joined the rest of the world in fighting HIV and AIDS.
According to a report in the Telegraph, concerned with the disease spreading fast across the world, the outfit recently conducted a health camp at its council headquarters — Camp Hebron — some 35km away from Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland on Sunday.
Around 400 NSCN cadres were screened for HIV/AIDS by the DKT India Project Aasha, which functions under the National AIDS Control Organisation. Four cadres were detected HIV positive.
According to the health ministry of the outfit, HIV/AIDS has been recognised as a major concern. Besides, Hepatitis C and malaria have also taken a toll on the cadres. The NSCN said steps were being taken to document the scenario of the pandemic and related health issues among the organisation.
In addition to screening, the outfit is also undertaking awareness campaigns to ensure that its members receive first hand knowledge on AIDS and prevention from NGOs. “An awareness programme is being held for the civil and military wings of the outfit at Camp Hebron through drama, audio visual and verbal discourse,” Vikiye Sumi, “kilonser” (minister) in charge of ministry of information and publicity of the NSCN, said.
The DKT India project focuses particularly on condom social marketing propagation as a preventive measure against HIV/AIDS. Toshi Aier, the state co-ordinator of the project, said out of an approximate 20 lakh population in Nagaland, only 269,381 had been recorded to have had their blood tested till October 2009 and out of them, 8,791 had tested positive.
While the prevalence rate is 1.2 per cent at present, Aier voiced apprehension that the real scenario might turn out to be worse if the entire population of the state were to be screened.
Sumi said the outfit was yet to receive the final report of the HIV/AIDS test from the DKT India project. “We have not received the medical reports yet,” he added. Sumi said medical camps were being held from time to time to keep the cadres fit.
Apart from this, the outfit’s health ministry also conducts health camps for the needy villagers from time to time. The NSCN has several camps across length and breadth of Naga-inhabited areas in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar.
As part of the campaign against HIV/AIDS, the NSCN is also running a rehabilitation and counselling centre at Heninkunglwa village under Peren district for people who are into drugs and other anti-social activities.