Sib Kumar Das

BERHAMPUR: The FM radio station of All India Radio (AIR) in Berhampur is playing a major role in creating AIDS awareness in Ganjam district, the HIV prone area of the State.

The success of its experimental 13-episode-long weekly AIDS awareness programme has prompted the Orissa State AIDS Control Society (OSACS) to sponsor the Berhampur AIR station to continue the programme for another 52 weeks.

The interactive programme broadcasted from the Berhampur FM station is named ‘Mita Janitha’. It has become so popular that even HIV positive persons including women from remote rural areas of Ganjam district have started to call to take advice from experts during the broadcast.

Recently a woman, who was forced into prostitution after being detected as HIV positive, became part of the interactive program as anonymity is guarantee on radio.

The ‘Mita Janitha’ is a 30 minutes long program. It is divided into three sections involving direct interaction with a medical expert or social activist regarding health problems of HIV positive persons. It is followed by the stories of HIV positive persons. The third section involves direct recording of views of rural people and HIV positive persons. The programme ends with a quiz for the listeners based on the facts broadcasted during the programme.

On Wednesday the AIR and OSACS organized a workshop in the city for radio script writers to make them understand the problems faced by the HIV positive patients.

Assistant Director of Berhampur of AIR, Syantanu Rath said the step was taken to make ‘Mita Janitha’ closer

to realities. Project Director of the OSACS, Parameswar Swain and Social activist Loknath Mishra who is active in rehabilitation work of HIV positive persons in Ganjam district attended the workshop.

According to Mr. Rath the radio program has also attracted listeners from districts beyond Ganjam. The 2x3 KW FM center of AIR is said to be the most powerful FM center in Orissa. Hence some HIV positive persons living in adjoining Nayagarh, Khurda and Kandhamal districts are also contacting the radio station over phone and letters after listening to the interactive program.