November 30th, 2015
Source: firstpost | Image Courtesy: humanrightsoncampus
Bihar State Aids Control Society (BSACS) has declared Kishanganj a “high risk” zone in view of high number of HIV positive cases; it was saddled with 1,370 HIV+ cases in 2006.
Kishanganj district is located in the north-eastern part of Bihar. It shares its borders with West-Bengal on one side and Nepal on the other. It’s a marginalized area with high density of village population, lacking the basic infrastructure for health care, education and employment.
It all started when Azad India Foundation-Kishanganj, initiated the project to make aware the peoples about the HIV & AIDS. Spreading awareness among the people was herculean task as the locals ware conservative, so here the engaging of religious leaders, maulanas came in – as they are respected and followed upon in the society. Once they were sensitised, we conducted workshops and interactive sessions with them, says – Yuman Hussain, executive director of Azad India Foundation.
The response was overwhelming as over 1,478 religious leaders agreed to impart sex education in madrassas to make people aware about HIV/AIDS.
The religious leaders were then trained by the then medical director of Regional AIDS Training Centre and Network in India, Patna. They were given comprehensive information about the spread and growth of HIV virus.
These maulanas (clerics) associated with 213 madrasas and mosques tried to promote healthy living and awareness about the disease through Friday sermons, jalsas (religious congregation) and daily interaction with their students.
The efforts were visible as results reported a sharp decline in 2007 when 146 HIV+ cases were detected. It further dropped to 145 in 2008. “We had to drop the project because of lack of funds in 2008,” said Yuman.
While many welcomed the efforts of Azad India Foundation along with the madrassas & mosques involved to bring a positive change in our society, few people have also expressed their disagreement.
Let us know what are your thoughts?