BHUBANESWAR: The inmates in jails across the State and women living in State-run shelter homes will soon undergo testing and screening for HIV and TB.
A targeted HIV and TB prevention and treatment services in prisons and women living in Swadhar, Ujjawala and other State-run homes was launched by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) here on Thursday. Odisha is the 8th State in the country to start the intervention programme, which will help the Odisha State AIDS Control Society (OSACS) to identify active cases in closed settings.
Director General of NACO and Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) Sanjeeva Kumar said prevalence of HIV and TB is four to five times more in close settings than the general setting. “This data prompted us to go for such interventions. Though some sporadic interventions were taking place, once a person is released from prison and becomes the part of the mainstream there is no follow up, making the entire community vulnerable to infections,” he said.
According to reports, at least 12 lakh undertrial prisoners and four to five lakh inmates are released from jails in the country every year. If these people are not properly monitored for HIV and TB status, there is possibility of the infections spreading further, Kumar maintained.
To have a structure in place, he or she needs to be attached to a nearby health facility so that required treatment can be provided when release from jail, he added.
Kumar, who is also the Additional Secretary of Union Health and Family Welfare Department, directed the health officials to find out active cases. Slum mapping and subsequent active case identification will definitely go a long way in increasing the surveillance and screening of patients, he added.
Researches conducted by United Nations and WHO show that HIV is more prevalent among prisoners and women living in close settings like Swadhar, Ujjwala and other state-run homes. There are 73 Swadhar and 17 Ujjawala homes besides five other state-run homes where more than 3,000 women inmates will be provided the interventions.
State Health and Family Welfare Secretary Dr Pramod Kumar Meherda said testing and screening of HIV and TB patients have been stepped up leading to reduction in fresh infection. “During the screening for non-communicable diseases, focus will be on finding active cases in close settings. A targeted intervention for HIV prevention in Bhubaneswar Smart City is under process and it will shortly be rolled out,” he informed.