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Unicef team in Nagaland

Country representative UNICEF, Karin Hulshof (c) Nyeiwang Konyak (L), Kuzholuzo Nienu (R) and other officials at Hotel CIMBORB Kohima on Monday. (DIPR)
Published on 5 Apr. 2011 1:02 AM IST
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United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) India representative Karin Hulshof and her entourage arrived Nagaland on a three-day visit with a primary objective to learn and understand about the situation and emerging needs of children in Nagaland beyond HIV and AIDS.
At a meeting held today in Kohima with Unicef team, the state minister for health & family welfare Kuzholuzo Nienu highlighted on the scenario of AIDS in Nagaland.
The health minister pointed out that few months back Nagaland was unfortunately placed second in the list of high HIV prevalent States in the country. However, with the assistance of NSACS, legislators, civil societies, churches and NACO, today Nagaland has been brought down to fourth sloth with a prevalence rate of 0.178% Azo informed, a DIPR report stated.
Dwelling at length on the legislators’ forum on AIDS (LFA), the health minister informed Karin and officials about various activities undertaken by the forum, with the contribution of Rs. 1 lakh each by all the legislators.
“With this fund we create awareness on HIV-AIDS in our respective constituencies and also sponsor trips outside the State to learn more and help more,” he added.
The Unicef India representative Karin was impressed to learn about the downward trend of HIV-AIDS and was keen to know how the prevalence rate came down.
Towards this end, commissioner & secretary, health & family welfare Menukhol John credited the civil-based organizations for sensitizing the people, the political commitment and awareness at the bureaucratic level.
People at large have clapped their hands together to bring the downward trend of HIV prevalence in Nagaland and it is time to press the accelerator, to halt and reverse the epidemic, Menukhol opined.
During the meeting, Menukhol John highlighted on enlarging the school curriculum, cross border transmission, up scaling of ICTC mobile units, care and support centres, and felt that these were the key areas of concern that could be looked into by the Unicef.
Nagaland minister for school education Nyeiwang Konayk, who also attended the meeting, impressed upon the Unicef officials with regard to the nutrition and awareness of HIV-AIDS imparted to the students and suggested for strengthening these sectors.
A representative from social welfare department voiced his concern about the issue of stigma and suggested that more efforts need to be given to the research process.
Karin was also impressed with the activities of LFA and the political commitment of legislators in the fight against HIV-AIDS and suggested that politicians shake hands or hold a baby with HIV-AIDS to reduce the stigma.
“It will be a very good example to show unity against HIV-AIDS and also to show that transmission does not take place by holding each other,” she said.
Besides others, the meeting was attended by chief field services India Edovard Beigbeder, master chief field office Assam Jeero and HIV specialist Unicef Assam Upasana Varu.
Later, the UNICEF team interacted with state chief secretary Lalthara at the conference hall of the chief secretary.
Lalthara thanked the visiting officials for their concern and asked them to visit more areas at the grass roots to get a clearer picture about the situation in Nagaland.
He also made a mention about the passing away of Mother Zaputuo of Kohima Orphanage and expressed his concern for giving attention to the orphaned children.
During the meeting, the commissioner & secretary school education Imkonglemba dwelt at length on the communitization of social sectors and the village functioning in Nagaland.
He also shared with the visiting UNICEF officials on the extensive school set up in the villages with about 18,000 teachers. He further apprised the officials that out of these teachers, around 8000 teachers are untrained which he said is an area of concern faced by the education department.
NSACS project director Dr. Changkija briefed on the Community Care Centre located at Dimapur and Noklak and viewed that it is not only a question of care.
Karin was impressed to learn about the outreach partnership between the civil society and the government.
“The whole reach out needs to be mobile,” she said.
Karin said she was impressed by the rich culture of Nagaland and the fact for using culture and the artists to get the communication heard through out the state.
The Unicef representative further said that up scaling of mobile testing units, life skills, mode area of child protection and Integrated Child Protection Scheme might be some areas where UNICEF could extend support.
Commenting on low institutional delivery and low pre-natal check ups, she further suggested having one place in the village where villagers could come and learn the information in one place.
State commissioner & secretary health & family welfare Menukhol John and representative also attended the meeting from social welfare department.
It may be noted that Karin Hulshof, as Unicef representative of India, is responsible for coordinating its network of 13 field offices covering 16 states.
She represents the executive director in all aspects of Unicef’s cooperation with the union government.
She is also responsible for the development, formulation management of the UNICEF country programme of cooperation, advocacy with the government and other partners for the enhancement of the survival, protection, development and participation of children and women in national development efforts.
During their visit to Nagaland, Karin and her entourage had a meeting with NMA advisor Khesheli, Kekhrie foundation secretary Bazo, NOSSAL Dr. Joyce.

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