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Double aid for Kolhan

Jamshedpur, Nov. 30: The bad news first — HIV in Kolhan is 0.31 per cent, higher than the state average of 0.13 per cent. But the good news on World AIDS Day tomorrow is that Jharkhand State AIDS Control Society has a fellow crusader in Tata Steel Family Initiative Foundation (TSFIF) to keep HIV in check.

Kolhan, comprising West Singhbhum, Seraikela-Kharsawan and East Singhbhum, is an industrial-mining belt with a large migrant population that HIV/AIDS control experts term high-risk populations.

But TSFIF head and AIDS centre nodal in-charge at Tata Main Hospital H.K. Gardin said had it not been for their strenuous efforts, jointly with government agencies such as JSACS, the number of HIV-positive persons would have been much higher.

“Through street plays and roadshows, we started awareness and counselling among migrant labourers, drivers and others. In 2013, we will go interactive,” said Gardin.

The nukkad nataks, held in languages the labourers understood such as Hindi, Santhali and Bengali, were a hit.

“We tried adding music, magic, anything that helped us communicate how to prevent HIV and debunk myths and fears. Trained personnel acted as narrators and helped audience in streets, slums and rural areas to understand basic dos and don’ts,” he said.

Now, teams from TSFIF and its Dhatkidih wing Sneh Kendra would come up with interactive contests, he said.

“We have drawn up plans for slogan writing, sit-and-draw and spot quiz for youths. Prizes will be given as motivation. Through them, we hope to drill behavioural safety messages,” added Gardin.

JSACS additional project director Birender Prasad said they were looking forward to speed up awareness events on HIV/AIDS throughout the state to “curb and lower prevalence and discrimination”.

On an average, eight persons visit TSFIF AIDS centre in Kadma while 30 visit the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC) at MGM hospital campus in Sakchi.