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Departments needs to work with collaborative approach for awareness on HIV: Principal secy Joshi

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HT Bureau
GUWAHATI, May 30: 
Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) organised the 3rd Joint Working Group Meeting with the participation of officials from more than 40 departments, institutions and organisations such as Panchayat and Rural Development department, Sports and Youth Welfare department, Home department, Higher Education department, Industries and Commerce department, Tea Tribes and Adivasi department, Transport department, Cultural Affairs department, Social Justice and Empowerment department, Women and Child Development department, NSS, NYK, Assam Network of Positive People (ANP+) at the Conference Hall, Block F at Assam Secretariat on Tuesday.
The objective of the meeting was to ensure that there are concerted and collaborative efforts from all departments in the field of HIV and drug use and to ensure that the response to HIV and drug use is multi-faceted and multi-sectoral that addresses various socio-economic factors.
The principal secretary to government of Assam, Health & FW department, Avinash Joshi, IAS, while welcoming all the officials, said, “HIV and drug use in Assam is on the rise and for HIV prevention, apart from ASACS, all departments need to take the responsibility. Since the HIV programme has come a long way, departments should ensure that there is proper awareness even at the periphery level.”
Joshi was also of the view that apart from mass media like TV and radio, social media must also be used extensively with qualitative and impactful contents. He further said that since reaching everyone is not physically possible, a capsule module with effective HIV messages may be prepared and disseminated through the digital platforms. He also asked ASACS to conduct a mega HIV campaign along with voluntary blood donation in different zones across the state. For HIV awareness at the grassroots, ASACS can take the help of the Panchayat and Rural Development department where there are a number of Self Help Groups (SHG) who can disseminate the HIV messages amongst the masses. He also urged all the departments to depute an official to liaise with ASACS and in the same way ASACS should also entrust responsibility to its officials to liaise with the departments.
The project director, ASACS, Pomi Baruah, ACS, while speaking during the interactive session, said, “ASACS has always received continuous cooperation and support from various departments. However, much needs to be done. Though we have conducted various campaigns in the form of outdoor media publicity through bus and train branding, hoardings, stalls during special events, publicity through social media, etc., the visibility of the publicity campaigns needs to reach far and wide.”
She also said that to create HIV awareness amongst the youth, there are 247 Red Ribbon Clubs in colleges across Assam and it would be ensured that all colleges of Assam will have Red Ribbon Clubs including the private colleges.  She also said that HIV sensitisation in secondary schools will also be increased. “Training and sensitisation regarding HIV prevention, care, support and treatment and drug use will be conducted across all departments with resource persons and other support from ASACS.”
The meeting concluded with all the participating officials of the departments assuring that they will work with ASACS with a collaborative approach.

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