Objective="HIV/AIDS awareness testing and counselling."
Details for Reform Option "Mobile Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing Centre, Manipur"
AIDS is becoming the number one killer of young people in Manipur today. The J.N. Hospital, Manipur has provided treatment to more than 250 AIDS patients in the last few years and the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal has also come across many patients with AIDS (more than 200 cases) during the last three years.
Though there are various programs on HIV/AIDS in Manipur but many people living in the far flung areas are still deprived of the benefits of these programs. They cannot go to the hospital or Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing Centre (VCCTC) due to lack of transportation facilities, lack of time, monetary as well as other problems. Moreover, in remote rural and hilly areas people have strong stigma and discrimination against those affected and infected by HIV/AIDS.
To tackle these problems, the mobile Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing Centre (VCCTC), the first of its kind in North East, started functioning from June 2005 with the financial help from ICCO, Netherlands. Mobile VCCTC is being run in Manipur by Manipur Voluntary Health Association (MNHVA) within the guidelines of National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), Government of India and Manipur State Aids Control Society (MSACS).
The mobile VCCTC team including one lady doctor, two lab technicians, two lady nurses and two counsellors move around the state reaching the interior parts of the state where high risk groups are mobilized to turn up through the institutional members of the MNHVA. HIV counselling and testing are initiated on clients’ free will. Counselling in Mobile VCCTC consists of pre- test and post- test counselling.
The blood samples are collected after proper pre-counselling and tested in the laboratory. The screening reports are submitted along with the blood samples to state referral centre at J.N. Hospital for further technical confirmation.
Along with individual referral and voluntary approach, the collection of blood sample is also done during awareness programme and health check- up.
The functioning of the mobile VCCTC has helped in reducing the fear psychosis of high risk groups to a great extent through self awareness. Since the functioning of mobile VCCTC people have come out of their solitary confinement and out of the fear of stigma and discrimination. Even people from remote corners are coming forward for voluntary testing along with their family members to the testing spots. It is a sign of people’s defiance of social stigma and discrimination and a good indicator of success of this programme.
The result in numbers are:
Number of blood samples screened -1707
Number of positive cases - 104
Number of females tested positive - 30
Number of males tested positive - 74
Approximately INR 5 lakhs per year.
First year budget was INR 11 lakhs (it included the cost of the vehicle).
Testing kits are provided free by MSACS.
Remote risk pocket areas of the 9 districts of Manipur.
The programme has been running since June 2005.
Coverage in remote areas: The programme is targeting the remote risk pocket areas which are otherwise deprived of VCCTC.
Cost effective: Potential clients, who are otherwise constrained due to cost of travel and service, consider Mobile VCCTC to be cost effective and convenient.
Gender considerations: Makes it convenient for women, some of who would otherwise be denied of services due to lack of financial control and freedom of movement.
Great demand: Now, many organizations are approaching the MVHA for extending this programme at their operational areas as it has become a matter of compelling interest in public health sectors.
Stigma: Reluctance still prevails amongst some people to take advantage of a service brought closest to them due to social stigma.
Measures for continuity: Need for articulating measures for continuity, specially taking care of those who tested positive, information about treatment, referral systems for psychosocial, economic and legal support and adequacy of community education and sensitization of service.
Agreement between the implementing agency and State Aids Control Society.
Trained and committed doctors, counsellors other staff.
Who needs to be consulted
Manipur State Aids Control Society.
Manipur Voluntary Health Association.
The programme is sustainable as long as there is money for the running cost of the programme. The testing kits are provided for free by Manipur State Aids Control Society.
Chances of Replication
Programme can be easily replicated. A similar program
“Mobile AIDS Counselling” is being run by another organisation in Delhi.
Prabha Sati, Research Consultant, European Commission Technical Assistance, New Delhi, March 2007.