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Paediatric referral initiative brings about a positive trend

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ON AIDS AWARENESS:TANSACS Project Director Supriya Sahu (centre), Sudha Gooty, Programme Officer, UNDP (left) and Kausalya, president, Positive Women Network at the launch of a handbook at a function in Chennai on Wednesday.
ON AIDS AWARENESS:TANSACS Project Director Supriya Sahu (centre), Sudha Gooty, Programme Officer, UNDP (left) and Kausalya, president, Positive Women Network at the launch of a handbook at a function in Chennai on Wednesday.

Staff Reporter

It helped identify HIV positive cases not only in children, but also among parents

It had brought to light 87 cases among children

Paediatricians in district hospitals to be covered

CHENNAI: The paediatric referral initiative in government medical college hospitals has helped identify HIV positive cases not only among children but also their parents, Supriya Sahu, Project Director, Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS), said here on Wednesday.

The initiative, started in 14 such hospitals in the State, brought to light 87 cases of HIV/AIDS among children in the past six months. This, in turn, helped detect 45 HIV/AIDS cases among parents of the children, Ms. Sahu said.

Speaking at the International Women’s Day celebrations organised by Positive Women Network, Tamil Nadu Positive Women Network and TANSACS, she said the cases had been identified across the State. “As the next step in the paediatric referral initiative, where doctors are trained to look for symptoms of HIV/AIDS, we plan to cover paediatricians in district headquarters hospitals. We will also be organising a conference of paediatricians,” she added.

For the first time, the five free legal cells at Madurai, Dindigul, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli and Namakkal would have one HIV positive woman each as a social worker, who would document problems of those who visited the cells, she added.

Ms. Sahu said TANSACS and the World Food Programme were working on improving the quality and taste of nutritious food provided to people undergoing anti retroviral therapy (ART).

Various issues, including those pertaining to widow pension, counselling for positive children, regular intake of medicines given as part of the ART, the need to sensitise tahsildars, livelihood and human rights were discussed during the sessions. The large gathering of positive women from all over the State listened to presentations about various projects being implemented for and by other women in the network.

Meena of Madurai presented a case study about the Children’s Voices Project in Melur, which strove to create a good environment for children, provide them with nutritional support, regular health check-ups and linking children and parents with government schemes among other things. She suggested that this pilot project be replicated elsewhere in the country.

Sudha Gooty, Programme Officer, UNDP, said following requests from positive women, the timings of legal cells had been changed and counsellors and outreach workers recruited. Two lawyers from each district would be provided training in April. Bimal Charles, APAC Project Director, and Devashish Dutta, UNICEF, spoke.

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