| Disease danger
Imphal, Feb. 7: More than 2,000 children are infected by HIV in Manipur and the number is expected to grow.
The shocking figures were revealed today by the project director of Manipur AIDS Control Society, Pradeep Kumar Jha, during the inaugural programme of a two-day workshop funded by Unicef.
Manipur, in fact, has one of the highest number of HIV-positive people, the figure being pegged at 40,000, said Jha at the meet organised to discuss the National Policy Framework on Children Affected by HIV.
“Doctors say most of the HIV-positive pregnant women do not disclose their HIV status during the routine examinations and medical check-ups. They disclose their status only after the delivery of the child. This is a matter of concern,” the official said.
“The number of mothers passing the virus to the child is very high and preventive action needs to be taken. Pregnant mothers should disclose their status to the doctors before the delivery,” he added.
The state has drafted an AIDS policy and suggestions and recommendations will be accepted from the public, experts and those working in the field.
Today’s workshop aimed at disseminating information about the national policy framework among NGOs working in the field of HIV/AIDS and discussed specific issues dogging the state that can be included in the national document. After the Unicef workshop is over, a similar workshop will be held for officials of the Manipur government departments to educate them on the national policy and identify the role each department can play in preventing the spread of HIV from mother to child.
Sonia Trikha, HIV/AIDS specialist of the Unicef office, New Delhi, and Upasana Varu, HIV/AIDS specialist, Unicef, Assam office, Guwahati, were also present at the workshop.
“An HIV infected child needs all the support that a normal child needs. So we should work together so that the children infected with HIV can have a normal future,” Trikha told the NGOs.