SPANDANAM – COMBATING HIV/AIDS THROUGH EMPOWERMENT

SPANDANAM – COMBATING HIV/AIDS THROUGH EMPOWERMENT

Grass root level interventions are needed to seize the attack of predator virus called HIV that causes the condition labeled as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS. Kerala State AIDS Control Society (KSACS) is committed to undertake all possible initiatives to stop HIV and protect the precious life of the people of Kerala. Many such initiatives and innovations became “Model” for other States in India. KSACS always tries to unite with other similar Departments, Institutions and Personalities that can contribute to the sexual health/HIV prevention programmes.

“Spandanam” is such a programme initiated by KSACS in association with the Social Welfare Department, Government of Kerala for the precise prevention of HIV at the grassroots. The programme aims to capacitate the workers of Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) in Kerala who have strong contacts among, and interactions with the people, especially with women and children in rural and urban areas.

ICDS is a National Programme initiated 1975 to improve the health standards of woman and children through proper supplementary nutrition, immunization, regular health check-up, effective referral services, pre-school non-formal education and proper health education. ICDS programme in Kerala uphold high standard in service delivery through Anganwadi Centres and is result oriented. The maximum allotted population for an Anganwadi under ICDS scheme is 800-1000. The Anganwadi workers, spearheads of the ICDS programme maintain adorable rapport with the people of the area assigned to them. The Anganwadi workers are the ladies selected from the local community who knows the pulse of the community very well. They always act as agent for social change, mobilizing community support for better health and care of the young children, girls and women residing in the area.

Through ‘Spandanam’ KSACS tries to incorporate HIV programmes with the regular activities of the Anganwadi workers. If they are properly integrated to the HIV programme, they can address the HIV/AIDS/Sexual health messages, services and commodities to the needy on time. As agent of social change, they can fight against stigma and discrimination suffered by HIV infected or affected people. ‘Spandanam’ aims to educate all people, particularly women and adolescent girls on HIV/AIDS, its impact, available services to combat it, gender issues associated with it, etc. through the empowerment of Anganwadi Workers. It also aims to improve the HIV service uptake by the needy people through effective referrals.

The first phase of the capacity building programme under ‘Spandanam’ was conducted during the months of October and November 2009. The Anganwadi Workers of Kozhikode and Ernakulum districts were covered during the first phase. These are the only two districts coming under the HIV prevalence category of ‘B Districts’ in NACO estimation (B Category: Less than 1% ANC prevalence in all the sites during last 3 years with more than 5% prevalence in any HRG(STD/FSW/MSM/IDU) sites) from the State, where intensive intervention is needed among the whole population.

A total of 5698 workers from 5698 Anganwadies were covered by 123 batches of training under ‘Spandanam’ during its first phase. A worker covers an average of 800 people during her regular work and hence the programme will benefit a total of 4558400 people from both the districts in due course. The programme expects that all the women population in these districts to become well aware about HIV/AIDS and thereby prevent new infections. It is also expected that the uptake of ICTCs and other services will be improved through this programme. It is anticipated that a harmonious environment will be created for HIV infected people to live in the community without any sort of discrimination. It will also ensure that no child is sent out from the Anganwadi on account of HIV infection.

Prevention of new infections through the saturated coverage of high risk groups and scaling up interventions for the general population is one of the major objectives of NACP-III to achieve its stated goal of ‘halt and reverse the epidemic in India over the next five years’. ‘Spandanam’ will certainly support the scaling up HIV/AIDS/Sexual Health interventions among the general population.

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BEST PRACTICE DOCUMENTATION UNIT

IEC DIVISION, KERALA STATE AIDS CONTROL SOCIETY
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, KERALA

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Management Support by:
Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT)
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Comment by Jean-Louis Lamboray on July 7, 2010 at 10:22pm
Many thanks for your posting!
Any ingredient for success you would wish to share?
Were the principles of SALT at all used?
Maybe some other principle we would wish to incorporate into our approach?
JL
Comment by Prashant Pastore on June 28, 2010 at 11:56am
Good to know the initiative and the most important thing is Aangadwadi workers found to be happy and not burdened as Ritu has mentioned. The initial Training programme seems to have brought lot of motivation amongst them. Good to get details and see how we can take these lessons elsewhere
Comment by BPDU on June 23, 2010 at 10:34am
Dear Rituu,
Thanks for your appreciation. Anganwadi workers, who participated in the programme were found very happy with the programme. The initial training programmes were tried to vigour their social commitment and thus they were never consider it as a burden or extra work.

Sincerely,


BINU GEORGE
on Behalf of Best Practice Documentation Unit, IEC Division, KSACS
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on June 23, 2010 at 12:39am
Dear Binu George,

I appreciate the way KSACS has in conjunction with other Government departments addressed HIV. What was the response of Anganwadi workers? Did they see it as extra work or were happy to be involved in HIV work?

Thanks and regards,

Rituu

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