Thursday, 1 June 2017

DAPCU Kozhikode (Kerala) Response to the Theme : DAPCU's role in addressing stigma and discrimination and mobilizing support for high risk groups and people living with HIV

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In Kozhikode district of Kerala, the reported cases of stigma and discrimination have steadily declined over the last two years. Awareness programmes for general population, sensitization sessions for government staff and social interactions between community and people living with HIV were organized, which helped address institutional discrimination, social exclusion and self-stigma. In the past, people living with HIV were reluctant and afraid to approach government departments and access service facilities. With increased awareness and acceptance across society, people living with HIV are now even willing to publicly disclose their status, play an active part during interactions with government departments and confidently avail health services.

Recently, a person living with HIV reported that an officer in the Revenue Department was delaying assessment and processing of a file related to land document. DAPCU team accompanied the beneficiary to interact with the concerned officer and his staff, sensitized them about HIV and explained the role of DAPCC in reviewing cases of this nature. The meeting helped remove misconceptions from the mind of the officer and staff and the file was processed without further delay. The beneficiary played a lead role in resolving this matter by actively participating in all interactions with the department.

To address community based stigma issues and establish a supportive environment for people living with HIV and their families, DAPCU brought together and sensitized local self-government officials, health functionaries and community leaders. Linkages with NACP service facilities have also been strengthened.

Facilitating access to social protection schemes for people living with HIV and Most At Risk Populations (MARPs) is included as an agenda item in DAPCC meetings. DAPCU has helped beneficiaries apply for and obtain government social entitlements. DAPCU assisted CSC Vihaan in receiving BPL status for people living with HIV by raising the issue in DAPCC meetings and following up with District Administration officials.

DAPCU Banda (Uttar Pradesh) Response to the Theme : DAPCU's role in addressing stigma and discrimination and mobilizing support for high risk groups and people living with HIV

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DAPCU Banda organized a sensitization camp to address the issue of stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV. Participants included Gram Panchayat Head, Block Development Officer, Village Development Officer, Anganwadi Worker and ASHA Worker. DAPCU DPM and DIS sensitized the audience on HIV transmission, HIV counselling and testing services, Anti Retro Viral treatment, stigma, discrimination and rights of people living with HIV to access health services and government social benefit schemes. The session also focused on how various levels of government can support, facilitate and improve access to service facilities, legal aid and social benefit schemes for people living with HIV.

Recently, DAPCU Banda resolved the case of an HIV positive person belonging to the high-risk group who was abused by his family members. When the matter was reported, DAPCU worked closely with the Targeted Intervention (TI) NGO, crisis response committee and an advocate to resolve the issue. The family was counselled and sensitized on the rights of people living with HIV.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

DAPCU Surat (Gujarat) Response to the Theme : DAPCU's role in addressing stigma and discrimination and mobilizing support for high risk groups and people living with HIV

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DAPCU Surat would like to share a case study that demonstrates the steps taken to mobilize support and address stigma and discrimination faced by high risk groups and people living with HIV.

A woman working in the Mid-Day Meal Programme at a Primary School for the past six years was asked by the school Principal to submit a medical report for renewing her contract. When the woman disclosed her HIV positive status, the school Principal and Deputy Mamlatdar of Taluka Panchayat refused to renew her contract. The woman contacted the ICTC Counsellor who reported the matter to DAPCU Surat and District Level Network. DAPCU team in coordination with District Level Network made a joint visit to meet the school authorities and Taluka Development Officer and submitted a written complaint.

DAPCU also raised the issue at the DAPCC meeting followed by submission of a written complaint to the District Magistrate and Collector requesting necessary action against the Taluka Development Officer and school Principal. A notice was issued by the District Magistrate and Collector to the Taluka Development Officer and school Principal asking them to explain their position. Upon enquiring this matter and finding no justification for the decision, the District Magistrate and Collector ordered that the woman’s contract as a Mid-Day Meal Worker should be renewed. DAPCU’s persistent efforts helped the woman receive a contract and she continues to work with the Mid-Day Meal Programme performing her role competently.

DAPCU Kanyakumari (Tamilnadu) Response to the Theme : DAPCU's role in addressing stigma and discrimination and mobilizing support for high risk groups and people living with HIV

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To address stigma and discrimination and mobilize support for high risk groups and people living with HIV, DAPCU Kanyakumari has conducted sensitization programmes for Government departments, schools and the general public.

Government Departments

 Incidents of stigma and discrimination were discussed with Heads of Department to mobilize their support. Sensitization and training programmes have been conducted for department staff, which has resulted in improved delivery of social welfare services to high risk groups and people living with HIV. When beneficiaries approach departments to apply for social benefit schemes, staff now respond to requests with greater sensitivity and understanding. Since participating in the sensitization and training Programme, staff offer necessary support to the client for claiming social entitlements and even enquire about the person’s family situation.


Schools
 School Headmasters have been sensitized to carefully handle cases of stigma and discrimination experienced by students living with or affected by HIV as well as take steps to prevent any harassment due to their status.

Case study
The following case study highlights the role played by DAPCU Kanyakumari in mobilizing support and addressing stigma and discrimination in our community.
In one of the villages, a person living with HIV was not being considered for daily wage work and neighbours were maintaining a distance from her knowing that she was positive. When the lady approached with a complaint, DAPCU took immediate action. With support from the Ward Councilor, a sensitization Programme was conducted in the village. DAPCU raised awareness about HIV, routes of transmission, and common myths surrounding HIV and AIDS. During the Programme, the audience sat near the HIV positive person and shook hands to demonstrate that they accept her as any other person. DAPCU has observed a change in the community’s attitude towards the person since the sensitization Programme was organized.

Friday, 7 April 2017

DAPCU AhmedNagar (Maharashtra) Response to the Theme : Strategies for reducing Pre - ART LFUs at district

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DAPCU Ahmednagar is conducting monthly co-ordination meetings with ART centre and Vihaan (CSC) staff to discuss the number of pre-ART LFU cases, efforts made to track them and the number of pre-ART LFUs who reached the ART centre. CSC staff are offered guidance on effective strategies that may be used for follow-up with clients. DAPCU emphasizes the importance of quality counselling by ICTC and ART centre Counsellors and capacity building of CSC staff for improving performance. Efforts are being made by DAPCU and ART centre to decongest the ART centre by shifting eligible clients to the Link ART centre. This will help improve the quality of counselling at the ART centre, encourage more clients to register for ART and adhere to treatment. ART centre staff have been instructed by DAPCU team to make follow-ups with clients through phone calls. From this month, DAPCU Ahmednagar is initiating group counseling during OPD twice a month with the help of ART Counselor and District ICTC Supervisor on specific topics, such as, ART adherence, opportunistic infections, diet and hygiene.