Effort to spread awareness among rural population
TIRUNELVELI: The recent campaign conducted in 19 blocks of the district through mobile cultural troupes to create awareness among the rural masses about HIV/AIDS has created significant impact over the villagers.
In an effort to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission and create awareness of the prevention services available in the districts for pregnant mothers and rural population under the programme ‘Vaazhkkai Vaazhvatharke...’ (Life is to Live), Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) has initiated a State-wide campaign in association with district administrations across 10 districts.
As many as 12 mobile teams with elaborate information on HIV / AIDS and the services available, cultural troupes with 96 performers would cover Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar, Madurai, Theni, Tiruchi, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri and The Nilgiris districts during the 50-day campaign.
Printed materials available in the vans and cultural performers disseminate information on understanding HIV/AIDS, existing programmes and health services to prevent transmission of HIV from parent to child, information on treating sexually transmitted infections and the nearest service providers to the village.
When the cultural troupes recently visited nearly 180 villages of the district to reach out over 1.50 lakh population through varied communication formats, the impact left behind in the village was tremendous as the villagers could get new information about the dreaded disease and erased some of their misconceptions.
In addition to the cultural teams, exhibitions set up in the villages clarified the doubts of the villagers. Ten well-trained volunteers further moved into the interior parts of the villages and reach out to the people individually with information on STIs, preventing the parent to child infection and the nearest services available.
“Some fallacies we had about AIDS and HIV infection have been removed, thanks to this campaign and hence it should be ,” said K. Murugan of Reddiyarpatti.
According to TANSACS, Tamil Nadu stands first in responding to the HIV epidemic in the areas of prevention, treatment, care and support services. This has helped to reduce HIV prevalence in the State to 0.25 per cent. The ongoing campaign is likely to intensify TANSACS’ attempts on preventing the prevalence and ensure that people in rural areas have full information regarding HIV/AIDS and access to proper services.
Prevention of infection from parent to child counsellor at Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, Sahayarani, noted that adequate services were available free of cost in the nearest Primary Health Centres and hence the women should understand that HIV/AIDS can be prevented from affecting their children. They could speak to the local outreach workers before coming to the centres.
Positive People’s Welfare Society member Kumar of Kokkirakulam said this campaign was very timely and would have good impact over the poor and uneducated women. “Now, the women would have understood that prevention of HIV infection from mother to children is possible,” he noted.