ASHA Current Affairs - 2019
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India has made significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS in recent years. The following steps have been initiated by the government to strengthen the fight against HIV:
- A 360-degree multimedia campaign along with mass media supported by outdoor media such as hoardings, bus panels, information kiosks, folk performances and exhibition vans to create awareness on HIV/AIDS has been initiated.
- Training and sensitization programmes for Self-Help Groups, Anganwadi workers, ASHA, members of Panchayati Raj Institutions and other key stakeholders are also being organised to spread awareness about treatment and other facilities.
- Awareness activities are being conducted amongst High-Risk Groups including Female Sex Workers, Men having Sex with Men, Injecting Drug Users, Hijra/ Transgenders and Bridge Population like truck drivers, migrants etc. as part of Targeted Intervention projects.
- HIV & AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 has been notified to address the challenges related to the disease in a comprehensive way.
- The act addresses various issues like discrimination against People Living with HIV at the workplace, an education setting, health setting and public places and also provides for a robust grievance redressal mechanism where compliant against discrimination would be disposed by Ombudsman at the state level.
- Steps have been taken by the government to track the patients through HIV diagnosis from care to treatment
- Patients diagnosed with HIV are put on Anti Retro Viral Treatment irrespective of their CD4 Count.
- Mission Sampark has been launched to reach out to all those who are Left to Follow Up and are to be brought under Antiretroviral therapy (ART) services.
- Counsellors are tasked to ensure tracking of HIV positive patients through telephone and home visits in the case of those who drop out between diagnosis and treatment to maintain their adherence to treatment.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Strategic Plan 2017-24 aimed at eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030.
Odisha is highly endemic for malaria and bears almost a quarter of the country’s disease burden. Through its innovative methods involving non-health workers in malaria control, Odisha was able to reduce the number of cases by 80 per cent.
How Odisha fought the battle?
The battle of Odisha resulted has resulted in the decline in the number of cases. Close to 4, 44, 850 cases of malaria in 2016 in the State and it dropped to around 55,360 till October 2018. Deaths were reduced from 77 in 2016 to four in 2018. Odisha achieved this significant achievement through:
- Additional investments were provided for the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) under the Comprehensive Case Management Programme (CMP) to experiment with the interventions required.
- Challenges such as unavailability of drugs when roads get cut off due to rain, or health workers facing difficulty in reaching remote villages when blocked by elephants, were addressed.
- Alternative providers like teachers, forest animators were trained to do mass screening by running blood tests and providing medication to villagers in the areas where Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) were unable to reach.
- Districts were divided into a control block and an intervention block, based on instances of malaria under the CMP and activities were intensified while in the control block things went on as usual.
- People were screened even if they had no symptoms of malaria in hill-top areas. If their blood samples showed the presence of parasites, they were treated with anti-malarial drugs.
All these cohesive, concentrated efforts results resulted in the decline in the number of cases of Malaria in the state of Odisha. States like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Assam, which have a high incidence of Malaria, can learn from the Odisha model to replicate the success.