Chandigarh,Sandeep Juneja, October 25 :Advocacy Workshop on Red Ribbon Express was held at Commonwealth Youth Asia Centre, workshop commenced at 3.00 pm here at CYP in Sector 12, Chandigarh. All the media persons and members of implementing organizations from Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, NACO, and NYKS were present on the occasion. The conference-cum-workshop started at the arrival of Sh. Satish Chandra (IAS) and he was received by Sh. J.S. Kooner. Sh. Satish Chandra (IAS) Secretary Health-cum-Project Director, addressed the media and attendees and responded to their queries regarding the project. He was accompanied by Deputy Project Director Dr. N.M. Sharma; Sh. Sukhdev Singh, Deputy Director, NYKS; Dr. G.S. Bajwa, Distt. Youth Coordinator, NYKS, Chandigarh, and other honorable guests. Questions were coming all over from media and all dignitaries were answering them very politely.
Answering one of the question Sh. Satish Chandra said that NGOs have a major role in the overall scenario in fighting with AIDS. And at present there are 21 NGOs working with them on approximately 24 different AIDS/HIV projects. They are coving the general population. He also added that there were 2100 HIV/AIDS cases in 2006; 45 cases in 2007; and 2600 cases so far till September 2008 have been registered with them.
Briefing about the Red Ribbon Express train he told that there will be 7 coaches in the train. In the fourth coach there will be 2 male doctors, 2 female doctors, and 2 senior doctors will be available for consultancy to the visitors. There will be HIV/AIDS tests conducted.
Dr. Avnish Jolly who has been associated with this AIDS Awearness campaign said that it’s a fight for life for him. He has dedicated his life for HIV/AIDs patients. He said HIV/AIDs can be treated but cannot be cured and he always has aspired to work for the families of HIV/AIDs patients. He appreciated Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, NACO, and NYKS for starting this kind of initiative to bring awareness to the people of India.
Giving a summary of this project Sh. J. S. Kooner told us that the Red Ribbon Express Project, conceptualized by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, is being implemented by NACO as a multi-sectoral project to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS and promote safe behavioral practices. It is a National Campaign to mainstream the issue of HIV/AIDS through a train that will traverse over programmes and activities in 43,200 villages. The concept is a broad based multimedia, multi-sectoral mass mobilization project in the country to make it a holistic and comprehensive campaign to mobilize people’s movement against HIV/AIDS.
He also told us that the Express train will reach Punjab by 27th of October, 2008 in Bathinda. This will be its fourth phase and first destination in Punjab. Crossing Bathinda it will reach Fazilka, then Ferozepur, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Amritsar and finally in Chandigarh. In all of these destinations the train will show the exhibition displayed in it’s 7 coaches. Also, the artists will perform several AIDS awareness plays in 24 villages of each city. Village Pachayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) have been informed of the dates of arrival of this train. They will further coordinate with youth clubs, anganwari workers, and health workers in their areas.
It will be responsibility of PRIs to gather people for nukkad plays to aware people of HIV/AIDS. There will be free Advice Centers (Salaah Kendras) in the train itself. And, he added that we have provided consultation with doctors at no cost. So he advised that the maximum people could benefit from this campaign will be a success of this event.