Provincial committee formed to prevent HIV/AIDS in NE

[TamilNet, Friday, 12 September 2003, 20:42 GMT]
A provincial HIV/AIDS committee is to be established for the northeast, which has the second highest incidence of AIDS victims in the country, to take preventive measures against the disease, said Dr.S.A.P.Gnanissara, a consultant to the National HIV/AIDS Prevention Project, which is funded by the World Bank, at a conference held Friday at the provincial health ministry auditorium in Trincomalee.

The North East Provincial Committee will be headed by the Chief Secretary or Health Ministry Secretary of the province and the secretary will be the Provincial Director of Health Services, according to a plan prepared for provincial authorities by the National HIV/AIDS Prevention Project, said Dr.Gnanissara.

AIDS Prevention in NE
Project Consultant Dr.Gnanissara speaking at the conference


The conference was summoned to formulate an emergency action plan to prevent HIV/AIDS in the northeast province.

National HIV/AIDS Prevention Project Consultant, Dr.H.M.S.D.Herat, said the country has identified persons who have contracted AIDS by screening Sri Lankans who return from abroad after concluding their labour contract. If the health authorities start screening all Sri Lankans in the country, more could be identified, he told deputy directors of health services (DDHS) and senior medical officials serving in the eight districts of the Northeast province who attended the conference.

However, the DDHS and other related medical officials serving in the Jaffna district did not attend the conference. The Jaffna district has the highest incidence of AIDS victims in the northeast, sources said.

The first HIV infection in a Sri Lankan was reported in 1987. By the end of 2002, the total number of persons reported with HIV/AIDS was 455. However, it is estimated that about 7200 are living with HIV/AIDS in Sri Lanka, a project report said.

AIDS Prevention in NE
National HIV/AIDS Prevention Project Consultant Dr.Herat


Consultants said that more than ninety percent of cases have been acquired through sexual transmission. Only a few cases were due to transmission from mother to child (8 cases) and through blood (2 cases). Transmission through injection has not been reported so far.

Many of Sri Lanka's neighbors, such as India and Nepal, already face serious and growing epidemics. UNAIDS and WHO estimate that currently there are more than 5.8 million people living with HIV/AIDS in South and South East Asia. Although Sri Lanka has a low prevalence, the situation in the neighbouring countries makes her vulnerable, the consultants said in a project report.

"Sri Lanka presently has a window of opportunity to act vigorously to prevent a nationwide HIV/AIDS epidemic. The window of opportunity is now closing rapidly. We have to concentrate more on prevention. We should organize group discussion among the masses to impart more and more knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS," said the Provincial Director of Health Services, Dr.V.Kumaravetpillai, presiding over the conference.

Dr Kumaravetpillai said the northeast health services are hampered due to a dearth of medical officers, family workers and other employees. He said he was unsure whether the NE provincial health ministry could implement a special project on HIV/AIDS without the necessary staff.

Consultant Dr Gnanassira replied that they could launch the project with the available staff at the start.

Project Consultant Dr.Herat said the entire structure of the northeast has now changed and only ten percent of original people are living in their areas.

AIDS Prevention in NE
NE Provincial Director of Health Services Dr.Kumaravetpillai ( exteme left) with other DDHS in the province


The primary objective of the World Bank funded project is to limit the spread of HIV infection in Sri Lanka among its highly vulnerable subpopulations and the population at large, without stigmatizing those who engage in high-risk behaviors.

Project Consultants further said that the World Bank has agreed to provide a grant of 12.55 million US Dollars to assist the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) in implementing the project. The total cost of the project is estimated at USD 20.93 million and the GOSL's contribution is USD 2.01 million, sources said.



AIDS Prevention in NE
A section of Deputy Directors of Healths Services serving in districts in the northeast

 

Latest 15 Reports
19.04.18 21:15   Photo
JUSU urges Tamils to mark Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance in its true spirit of uprising
18.04.18 23:03  
Cooray emerges as broker of civil contracts to occupying Sinhala military in North
17.04.18 23:31  
SL Resettlement Ministry twists figures on lands seized by Sinhala military in North
16.04.18 20:02  
Mano Ganesan challenged in Jaffna, politician complains of threat
15.04.18 10:13  
7 DS officials under pressure to collaborate with Sinhala colonisation schemes in Batticaloa
14.04.18 23:19  
Colombo schemes new type of subservient CSD colonies in Jaffna diverting foreign aid
13.04.18 23:18   Photo
SL military brings back paramilitary violence to control peaceful protests as NGO tricks fail
12.04.18 19:03  
SL Forest department blocks access to 300 acres of agricultural lands in Ampaa'rai
11.04.18 23:20  
Tamil political prisoner launches hunger-strike at Anuradhapura prison
10.04.18 18:19  
Genocidal Sri Lanka imposes forcible military training for CSD pre-school teachers
09.04.18 11:40   Photo
Fisheries society cautiously welcomes Court decision on fishing access to Naayaa'ru Tamils
08.04.18 23:28  
Militarisation of pre-schools akin to child soldiering: NPC Education Minister
07.04.18 21:34  
Muslim politicians block relocation of SL military base in Batticaloa
06.04.18 06:35   Photo
NPC finally awakens against SL Mahaweli Authority obstructing territorial integrity of Tamil homeland
05.04.18 16:46  
Vavuniyaa Judge warns SL Attorney General against delaying tactics on TPP cases
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=9861