JAGATSINGHPUR: A team of officials on Wednesday visited the house of an HIV-positive patient Sabita Dei (name changed) in Bansa village under Naugaon block to inquire into her plight and ensure she is extended the benefits of all government schemes.
The intervention of the district administration came a day after The New Indian Express carried a report “Deprived of basic facilities, HIV patients deal with social stigma” highlighting the plight of Sabita and other HIV/AIDS patients in the district. Most have been deprived of rightful entitlements under various schemes for housing, drinking water, toilet facility due to official apathy and social stigma.
A widow, Sabita had been living alone in a thatched house after her husband (also an HIV patient) passed away. She often slept on verandahs of others’ houses as her roof leaked during rains. She had to walk 2 km to relieve herself and take a long trek to fetch water from a public tube well.
Four months back, an NGO had agreed to construct a toilet under Swachh Bharat scheme but asked her to pay Rs 12,000. Though she paid the amount and materials required were brought, no construction took place.
The team led by ABDO Debendra Kumar Pradhan, panchayat extension officer Sumitra Swain and others interacted with Sabita and assured her of resolving her problems at the earliest. “Earlier, no official had come to my house but yesterday, the block officials visited and assured to conduct inquiry. I am hopeful of positive response,” Sabita told TNIE.
There are as many as 350 HIV positive patients in the district. Of these, only 12 have been covered under ‘Biju Sishu Suraksha’ scheme, 11 under ‘Mo Kudia’, nine under ‘Sukanya’ and one under cow shed scheme. Around 282 patients have been covered under old age pension.