Jhabua District HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention Program Update
August 31, 2008
Honorary Country Director Fabian Toegel, M.D.
I returned at 4 AM this morning from Jhabua, and after establishing the Jhabua District-level Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS and a Link ART Center under the National AIDS Control Program. The next two steps, which may happen this month are establishing:
- A Community Care Center in Jhabua that would serve 15 patients living with HIV/AIDS at a time
- An Integrated Counseling and Testing Center at Jeevan Jyoti Hospital, which is a fully Government funded set-up, providing prevention of parent-to-child transmission, STI management and voluntary counseling and testing
This is entirely due to our efforts and I'll let you know as soon as the Government approves this.
The Jhabua District HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention Program currently serves 121 HIV-positive individuals. Unfortunately, this is only a small number of all those who are in need of HIV-related services. Our program has identified approximately 100 more individuals who are at very high risk for having contracted HIV and who are preparing to be tested within the next few months. Below is the preliminary report I have prepared about the project, which I am continually updating and developing. Since this report was written less than one month ago (9 July 2008), there have been several new and exciting developments for the program.
We are pleased to announce the formation of the Jhabua District Chapter of the Madhya Pradesh Network for People Living with HIV (MPNP+)! Last Saturday, 2 August 2008, Mr. Manoj Verma (President) and Mr. Prakash Singoriya (Board Member) of MPNP+ were in attendance at a meeting in Meghnagar in which approximately 45 HIV-positive individuals along with their families also attended. The meeting was a major success for PLHA here in Jhabua District and concluded with the establishment of the Jhabua District Chapter of MPNP+. Please see minutes available below for reference.
The HIV-positive community here in Jhabua is very enthusiastic about becoming advocates for their rights as HIV-positive individuals, and they fully support the formation of a Community Care Center (CCC) and Link ART Center at Jeevan Jyoti Hospital in Meghnagar to meet their health needs. Jeevan Jyoti Hospital has a wide catchment area, serving patients from tribal areas in Madhya Pradesh as well the surrounding states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Patients come from cities all around Meghnagar, including Jhabua and Alirajpur, Madhya Pradesh; Banswara, Rajasthan; and Dahod, Gujarat. Currently, patients must travel all the way to Indore for CD4+ monitoring and ART administration. The time and economic costs of such a trip are prohibitive for many, which is only one of many reasons why establishing a CCC and Link ART Center at Jeevan Jyoti Hospital is so critical. Jeevan Jyoti Hospital is also a part of Janani Suvidha Yojana, and it especially caters to pregnant women, as it is the only facility in the Jhabua District which conducts cesarean-section procedures. This means that Jeevan Jyoti Hospital is uniquely situated to implement Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) programs.