The major hurdles in the control of HIV and AIDS are poor awareness about the ways of transmission and the strategies to prevent HIV and AIDS; as aggravated by the prevalent gender inequality. Myths and misconceptions about the infection, stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV (PLHIV) and what have you, are still the other obstacles in the ongoing pursuits for all the prevention, care, support and treatment measures.
To meet these challenges, major campaigns have been carried out throughout India, viz,Red Ribbon Express(RRE) , Red Ribbon Caravans Zindagi Zindabad[through the Information, Education and Communication( IEC) vans] under the National AIDS Control Programme(NACP) of India . Due to the active support of all the stakeholders, the largest number of participants in the entire country i.e. 6.65 lakhs people visited the Red Ribbon Express(RRE) in the state of Gujarat.
Subsequently through the Zindagi Zindabad campaign 3000 villages in 15 districts of the state of Gujarat were covered during an intensive 100 “day- campaign through the five IEC vans. With the immense success of the response of the Red Ribbon Express and the intensive district campaign for HIV awareness in Gujarat last year, activities for the same have been chalked out this year also as an integral part of the launch of Zindagi Zindabad- a mid media campaign across the country this year.
As per the initiatives of the GSACS and regular and sustained guidance from the Project Director, GSACS all the preparations have been ensured. To ensure its success in Gujarat , district level organizing committees have been formed under the chairpersonship of the District Development Officers (DDOs)-the heads of development administration in the districts . The committee consists of different stakeholders to facilitate a multi-sectoral response.
The campaign scheduled from 1st September, 2009 to 31st March, 2010 will be effectively carried out in the state of Gujarat. District wise schedules have been prepared accordingly. A total of five IEC vans will cover 6000 villages, 22 districts in 1000 work days (200 X 5 vans).
The campaign comprises an exhibition, folk and video shows and interactive sessions. Interpersonal Communication is the key approach to bring about generation of awareness to facilitate behaviour change.
The Project Director,GSACS has directed all the stakeholders in the districts also about the areas which need to be strengthened for further enhancement of effectiveness of the campaign which are as follows:-
1.Pre-arrival announcement - two days before the arrival of the van.
2.Participation of the all Block/village level concerned functionaries.
3.Community mobilization during interactive sessions/shows especially with active involvement of the other sectors like Panchayati Raj Institutions(local self governments), Aanganwadi workers , Social welfare etc.
4.Prompt repairs and maintenance of the vehicles and equipments.
5.Logistic -management of the troupes/communicators.
The expenditure for the same will from the funds released to DAPCU (District AIDS Prevention & Control Unit)/SAPCU (Surat AIDS Prevention & Control Unit for Surat city) for Intensive District Campaign (IDC). Funds from National Rural Health Mission will also be used to strengthen the activities.
We all hope that the opportunity will be effectively utilized for creation of greater awareness about HIV and AIDS amongst rural masses particularly the women to strengthen the endeavours for containment of HIV and AIDS with active involvement of the community .
The launch of the mobile vans to carry out the intensive district campaign in Gujarat was done at 6 PM(two hours back) along with a press conference, on 31st August (Monday) at Circuit House Annexe,Ahmedabad where the Health Minister of Gujarat Mr. Jay Narayanbhai Vyas flagged the mobile vans off.