Bhubaneswar: In spite of several programmes initiated by the Government, including the Targeted Interventions (TIs) to control HIV/AIDS, there is a rising trend in HIV affected patients in Ganjam, which is most populous district in the State.
While the number is decreasing slowly in the country, which registers 2.39 million cases so far, the rise in the number in Ganjam HIV/AIDS patients, particularly the affected pregnant women, raises a big concern for the Government.
AIDS has claimed over 1,400 lives while a significant number of people is living with the disease in Ganjam district. According to the Odisha State AIDS Control Society (OSACS), the nodal agency fighting the dreaded disease, as many as 14,734 persons in 22 blocks of the district have been identified as HIV positive from 2009 to 2017.
According to information available, 848 pregnant women have been affected by the AIDS. To control such huge number of HIV/AIDS-affected patients is now a threat to the Government, sources said.
Meanwhile, the health administration is contemplating for a special drive to test blood of the all the 848 pregnant women affected by the AIDS from August 7 as identified for the purpose. For undertaking this massive blood test drive, a number of health workers and ASHAs have already been imparted training, sources said.
According to reports available, a total 26,221 pregnant women were given counselling to control and prevent HIV/AIDS by the Health Department up to 2008. Out of 26,221, the blood of 19,969 pregnant women was examined, out of which 117 cases were found HIV positive in their blood. After coming across such a huge number, health officials were on their toes.
Again in 2009, quite an alarming number of 38,789 pregnant women were given counselling of whom the blood test of 34,999 pregnant women were conducted, out of which 108 blood samples were identified as HIV positive. Similarly, in 2010, a total of 45,487 pregnant women were given counselling out of which 41,727 blood samples were tested from which 80 samples were HIV positive. The situation became worse in 2011 causing worry for the Government. Out of 58,253 pregnant women given counselling in 2011, the blood sample of 56,839 were put to test out of which the blood sample of 121 pregnant women were found HIV positive.
According to information available, among HIV/AIDS affected patients, Ganjam district continued to remain in No. 1 position since 2001. For such rising trend, the intellectuals and civil societies link this to rise in number of labourers who are migrating to different parts of the country, especially Surat and Mumbai, to earn livelihood.
These people get affected by the disease their and on arriving home spread the same among the family members.
According to the Health officials, the Government is expediting steps to identify HIV/AIDS affected patients in the district at a faster pace and on August 7, the blood samples of all HIV/AIDS affected pregnant women will be tested in different Rural Health and Nutritional Centers and Urban Health and Nutritional Centers, sources said.
Notably, Ganjam district has 2,400 such centers with required facilities and well trained health workers. Keeping this in view, 44 health workers were imparted training on Thursday last who will impart similar training at their respective block levels, sources said. The Government has reportedly distributed 12,000 kits for the purpose. From HIV/AIDS-affected pregnant mothers, this deadly decease could possibly affect 10-15 per cent of their newborn babies.