BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Feb 4: With the initiative from tiol AIDS Control Organization (CO), Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS), Family Health Intertiol 360, Emmanuel Hospital Association (EMA) and Northeast Technical Support Unit (NETSU), Prison Intervention Programme (PIP) was launched at Guwahati Central Jail recently.
Welcoming the participants, Dr Rebecca Site, Project Director of Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) highlighted the project goal i.e improving HIV testing services and enhancing access to treatment and care services for people living in prison settings.
Manvendra Pratap Singh, Project Director of Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) highlighted the ratiole behind prison HIV intervention project in Assam where it is geographically surrounded by three high HIV prevalence states, with high mobility of migrants and Guwahati being the gateway of North East (NE) India.
Singh also highlighted the importance of HIV prevention for everyone irrespective of position or location; and how scaling up the comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care services to those living in prisons is paramount to accelerate the reversal of the HIV epidemic and integrate the response.
Ranjan Sharma, Inspector General-Prisons, highlighted on the need and importance of prison HIV intervention, and expected that the project should be also be started at the earliest in other five central jails of Assam. The IGP also assured that the Prison Department would extend its full cooperation to implementing agency i.e. Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA), and looked forward to the intervention which will greatly benefit the health of the inmates.
T Kailash Ditya, Deputy Team Leader (DTL), North East Technical Support Unit (NETSU) provided a background on prison HIV intervention in India. CO rolled out prison interventions in North East (NE) in CP-IV, through FHI360 with the support of CDC through the joint efforts at the state level by Assam Prison Department, Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) and implanting partner Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA). In North East (NE) states, 5 Prison Interventions had been started including Assam in this fincial year 2016-17. As prison is a correctiol home in order to bring changes in not only the attitudes but also change in behaviors of inmates from high risk to no risk with regard to HIV, he said. He concluded by saying that the best practices of this pilot prison intervention should be replicated by prison department in all central jails, district jails and sub jails.
Dr Govind Bansal and Kim Hauzel from CO-Delhi gave an overview of prison intervention in the country. Dr Bansal also highlighted the initiatives, strategies and working modalities taken by CO on HIV intervention; and looked forward to recommendation and inputs for strengthening partnerships between Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in North Eastern Region.
Ginlalsiam Buhril, Project Coorditor of Prison Intervention Project on HIV, delivered the way forward for its successful implementation at Guwahati Central Jail.