It will be provided at all 15 anti-retroviral therapy centres in Tamil Nadu
Rs. 45 lakh estimated outlayFive more ART centres to be opened
CHENNAI: As part of its efforts to increase the quality of life and life expectancy of people living with HIV/AIDS, the Tamil Nadu Government in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) launched the free nutritional supplement support programme here on Friday.
Inaugurating the initiative of the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) to provide nutritional support to people living with HIV/AIDS registered at all 15 Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) centres in Tamil Nadu, K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran, State Health and Family Welfare Minister, said the programme, first of its kind in the country, was aimed at integrating nutrition with care and treatment. The estimated outlay of this programme was around Rs.45 lakh and the model was likely to be scaled-up and replicated.
The "Nutriplus programme" was a landmark initiative under the DMK regime led by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to help fight against the disease in rural areas, the Minister said outlining the steps taken to fight the stigma attached to those affected. V.K. Subburaj, State Health and Family Welfare Secretary, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gian Pietro Bordignon, Country Director and United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP), was confident that the "model nutrition programme" would reach out to the marginalised population. The Government was spending more than Rs.150 crore under various programmes for prevention of AIDS. Five more ART centres would be opened. Mr. Bordignon, who released the nutrients counselling training module, said it would help in enhancing the skills of counsellors and nutritionists in providing case specific advice to people such as pregnant women.
Supriya Sahu, Project Director and Member-Secretary, TANSACS, said the pioneering effort by Tamil Nadu was estimated to benefit over 13,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.