Mizoram seeks United Nations aid to tackle AIDS

R. Lalthangliana with UN officials

Mizoram, which is being currently dubbed as the highest AIDS-prevalent state in the country, has sought logistic and financial support from the UN to fight against the high prevalence of the deadly disease in the state.

Official sources said on Friday state health minister R. Lalthangliana, who is currently in the US, called on international director Regan Hofmann and other officials in the United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) and informed them of the current scenario in Mizoram and the government’s efforts to check the growing spread of AIDS in the state.

During his meeting with the UNAIDS officials in Washington DC, Lalthangliana urged them for financial and technical assistance besides logistic support, the sources said.

The sources said the minister also appealed to the officials to conduct an in-depth study on the present situation in the Christian-dominated state.

The UNAIDS officials on their part assured the minister of all possible help and apprised him of their willingness to hold a joint meeting between Mizoram officials and UNAIDS officials to sensitise the growing prevalence of AIDS in Mizoram, the sources added.

On Tuesday, Lalthangliana met John Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynaecology and Obstetrics president and CEO Leslie D. Mancuso and World Bank chief manager Trina Haque over the ongoing projects under the two agencies in the states.

Mizoram is a tiny hilly state with a population nearly 11 lakh according to 2011 census. Of this, 2.04 lakh people are found living with HIV-positive making the state the highest AIDS incident state in the country, followed by Manipur and Nagaland.

It has been estimated that nine people are diagnosed HIV positive everyday in the state.

A Mizoram State AIDS Control Society (MSACS) official said more than 2,400 people have died because of AIDS and 20,976 HIV-positive cases have been detected since 1990 when the first case was detected in the state.

The official said more than 67 per cent of HIV-positive cases were sexually transmitted, while about 28.12 per cent cases were transmitted through sharing needles by intravenous drug users. The rate of HIV spread is extremely “alarming.”

The state government along with NGOs and churches is making massive efforts to fight the menace by spreading awareness.

Between October and November, the state government organised sensitisation programmes on AIDS in all government offices in the state capital. It has also decided to introduce a chapter on AIDS in the school curriculum from the new academic session (2020-2021).

A meeting of Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee, a conglomerate of churches in the state, held in December agreed to make collective effort to fight the deadly disease.