Thursday, December 1, 2011

Balangir ICTCs run short of technicians; HIV testing hit THURSDAY, 01 DECEMBER 2011 23:13 SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR HITS: 3

Balangir ICTCs run short of technicians; HIV testing hit
THURSDAY, 01 DECEMBER 2011 23:13

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Even as the World AIDS Day was observed on Thursday with much fanfare with a new theme “Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS-related deaths”, the vacant posts of laboratory technician in Integrated Counseling and Testing Centres (ICTCs) opened in the migration-prone rural areas of the district, have hit the detection and diagnosing of HIV/AIDS patients.
According to sources, out of the 14 blocks of the district, only in five ICTCs located at Balangir, Titilagarh, Patnagarh, Kantabanji and Chudapali, required number of counsellors and laboratory technicians are found. The technicians at Government PHC of Saintala, Loisingha and Degoan have been given training on HIV/AIDS too. But in the most migration-prone areas, where people are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, such as Tureikela, Khaprakhol, Muribhal, Sindhekela, Tusura and Gudvella, there is no laboratory technician to test the infection of the disease. In the district headquarters hospital, there is only one lab technician who is in charge of both the sections of the ICTC.
“Mere counselling is not enough and it is futile to expect poor persons to go to distant places to test their blood. If a poor person returns from an ICTC without being tested, it becomes very difficult to bring him again to the testing centre,” pointed out an NGO worker.
So far 492 persons have been detected as HIV positives and 68 persons have died due to AIDS, informs CDMO Dr Vikrant Kindo. The CD4 machine is being installed here in the district and it would be functional after the technician joins here, Kindo informed. In the Balangir ART Centre, a total of 220 people are on pre-ART and 80 people are under ART treatment, he said.
Meanwhile, the Link Worker Scheme, which was working in the rural areas in the district since 2009 for identification of HIV/AIDS, treatment and linkages with different schemes, has been closed in the midway leaving its workers and patients in lurch.
“HIV/AIDS remains one of the biggest global challenges for our generation. It is essential to combat it through effective awareness campaign and education. Odisha is considered vulnerable due to a large number of persons resorting to distress migration. Balangir is highly prone to HIV/AIDS. Awareness is necessary,” said MP and convener of parliamentary committee on HIV/AIDS Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo.

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