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I would like to share a community action to reduce the stigma and Discrimination in Andhra Pradesh. Non Governmental Organisations, Government, Donor Agencies were succeeding to address stigma and discrimination with various activities. Even though PLHA are facing problems from neighbours, relatives, moneylenders and other community members and suffering a lot due to self stigma and discrimination. Due to these reasons PLHA are mentally up set and decreasing their health day by day. After discussion with many PLHA from different villages, they are also shared that different stories and few people are discriminating them at different places.
After discussion with PLHA, VMM team first provided the psychosocial support to PLHA to reduce the self stigma. Then VMM team chalked out a plan for conducting sensitization meeting involving all the village heads, public representatives and women groups to pass a resolution to reduce the stigma and discrimination and create the enabling environment for the PLHA families. VMM team interacted with all participants before meeting and shared issues of PLHA and sensitized them to get support at meeting.
First we conducted a meeting in a village where we have the good rapport with Panchayat members. We presented a small presentation with issues of PLHA in their villages and requested them for the needful actions and resolution. After long discussions, village head has like minded person and he announced to pass a resolution to reduce the stigma and discrimination in the community.
The main concept of the resolution is “PLHA are also our community members so we will not discriminate them from today onwards. We have to give the preference to PLHA to accessing the government services in our community. This is the resolution of Pollivalasa village. So all people who is staying here has to give respect for this resolution”. It is the good initiative and PLHA felt happy because of community safe net.
When they have this type of resolutions automatically the moral strength will increase in PLHA there by they come out to access the services with in the community. This is the community initiative to reduce the stigma and also create the enabling environment for PLHA. VMM make the resolutions in 18 villages till now and we are in the process to bring more resolutions from the other villages.
A.Prabhavathi, Surpanch (Village Head), Balaseema, shared that “we don’t know about problems of the PLHA in the community. When VMM team visited me I realized issues of the PLHA and passed resolution to reduce the discrimination in Balaseema. Later PLHA interacted with me and expressed their gratitude and I promised them to give priority in the government schemes”.
Andhra Pradesh, India