By Daniel Kameih
Despite the efforts put in to control the spread of HIV/AIDS, there has been a steady rise in positive cases in the districts of Noney and Tamenglong, with reports of eight persons confirmed to be positive.
The positive cases are from the 2968 blood samples tested from the two districts since April last till date. With the eight cases confirmed positive, the total count has reached 142, which includes five females and three males.
Against this backdrop, the District AIDS Control and Prevention Unit (DACPU) Tamenglong is running only with two staff, one officer and a grade IV employee.
Speaking to the Imphal Free Press, Tamenglong district AIDS control officer, Dr Majachunglu Gracy said, “DACPU in the district may go defunct anytime due to shortages of staff.”
Dr Gracy further said 142 persons living with HIV have registered for taking ART however, only 96 of them are taking ART in Tamenglong.
Some of them opted to take ART from Imphal and had transferred, and some have not reported for follow up, she added.
Dr Gracy said that the eight positive cases newly detected was from non Antenatal care (ANC). It was detected by the mobile ICTC (Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre) team which collects samples from village to village, she added.
“There is a high possibility of finding more positive cases if more samples are collected,” she said.
The mobile ICTC vehicle is also in a dilapidated condition and there is no fund for maintenance too, she added.
“Our mobile team is able to visit villages with the help from DC Tamenglong and chief medical officer Tamenglong. They provide their vehicle to visit the targeted village,” Dr Gracy stated.
Dr Gracy informed that the government has directed to install facilitated-ICTC in all primary health centres, however due to acute shortage of DACPU Tamenglong staff the direction cannot be put into action.
All sanction posts including monitoring and evaluation officer, district supervisor, accountant and program assistant are lying vacant, she said and appealed to the authority concerned to send more staff.
Dr Gracy informed that six persons have applied for social benefits scheme but the district social welfare department has not responded. But the public health engineering department has awarded low cost latrine to 14 persons out of 39 applicants, she added.
Dr Garcy also informed that at least five drug users from Tamenglong have been treated with Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) for HIV prevention.