Summary: Panel Discussion – Session 6
Institutional Partnerships & Mainstreaming
Time: 12.05 pm- 2.20pm
NACP III Dissemination Summit:
Good Practices, Innovations and Impact (2007-2012)
Day III, 27th April 2012
Chair: Ms. Aradhana Johri, Additional Secretary, NACO
Anchor: Ms. Sonia Singh, NDTV
Ms Sonia Singh followed an interactive format for this session which included representatives of Government Ministries, Private Sector, Donor Partner’s, Faith based organisations and the Media.
She asked them relevant questions from their different perspectives - the importance of multiple collaborations by donor representatives; the possibility of government dealing with diseases like malaria, TB, etc parallel to HIV/AIDS; the challenge of treating an active and home-away population in the Armed Forces; the corporate responsibility towards their workforce and treatment prevention litigation issues; the opportunity for religious institutions to implement a similar process for HIV prevention and CST as they have done for polio; and finally, the pitch of mainstreaming HIV-AIDS through films and media partnerships. Highlights of each speaker’s presentations are given below.
Ms. Aradhana Johri, Additional Secretary, NACO, MoHFW
· The issue of focus vs. integration has to be managed, because it is not possible integrate different HIV prevention programmes together and maintain focus at the same time. By 2017, it will be possible to move closer to the goal of integrating these programmes into one.
· There is no stigma in facilities exclusive to STI's. Stigma comes in where facilities are inclusive – this needs to be dealt with.
· The idea of establishing an HIV/AIDS foundation has been tried for the last couple of years to get the captains of industry to contribute, not just with money but also with their expertise. However, this has been a huge challenge. Engaging the top management and tapping the CSR divisions of the private sector and PSUs remains an issue to be addressed.
· Need to distinguish between awareness and correct knowledge translating into behaviour. Somebody might be aware of HIV/Aids but does he/she have the knowledge to deal with its prevention and treatment?
· The media is a very powerful tool for changing the mind-sets of the public. Films on HIV Aids can go a long way in contributing to the HIV prevention and treatment programme.
· Interpretations of Holy books can be used to change people’s attitudes with respect to social stigma. It can be a very influential tool since it reaches a large mass of people.
· The issue of social protection is extremely crucial and must be addressed.
· NACP 1V is looking at influencing the education and employment sector in order to remove the stigma and discrimination around HIV AIDS.
Captain Rajesh Vaidya, Director Health, Ministry of Defense
· The basis of involvement is as a health care service, serving a particular clientale.
· There is a very comprehensive policy on HIV control and management in the Armed Forces. “The only government agency we actually work with is NACO”.
· Several Challenges are faced: our people are considered high risk for infection like all uniformed personnel. It is a challenge to make sure we don’t move away from the focus. We have set up an internal organisation which mimics a vertical programme in working for HIV control in the armed forces.
· Confidentiality remains a big issue in the armed forces, as elsewhere.
· There are training programmes with religious teachers for soldiers that don’t have families to fall back to.
· Stigma is reducing gradually in the Armed Forces. With large scale availability of ART, soldiers are able to lead completely normal healthy lives and carry out their military duties.
· The HIV rates in the Armed Forces are significantly lower than the national rate. “We understand that our officers are considered a big source of this infection and we are taking measures to combat it”.
Mr. Ranjan Dwivedi, Ministry of Home
· Police engagement with HIV prevention is for assisting agencies that are involved with this movement. Police support is needed for these agencies to work effectively.
· The challenge is to integrate the programme in the regular framework, without it becoming a burden.
· Sadhana was a programme to prevent parent to child transmission. We place a great emphasis on language as HIV/AIDS are foreign terms. If we want to reach the people, we need to change that, including reaching out to people in different languages.
· The most effective programme is one which can be done without a huge budget, which is a challenge.
PRIVATE SECTOR REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. M.N. Rao, MD, TATA Business Support Services
· As a nation, more efforts need to be made to move towards voluntary blood donation. The supply has to increase!
· It is sad to hear that the HIV/AID foundation couldn’t work and that it received no support from the corporate sector. - hoping that the corporate sector does step in now.
Mr. Atul Kapoor, PSI
· The private sector is very vibrant by itself. The reasons that have prevented it from coming forward and partnering with the government are several:
1.) Identifying the private sector as one homogenous entity, almost like an animal with multiple heads. There is actually a lot of heterogeneity in this sector which can be leveraged.
2.) Private sector is still not very well educated about HIV. With that limited understanding, HIV is treated as a condition that a person brings in to himself because of his lifestyle choices.
3.) The government is bringing in so many funds that the private sector doesn’t feel the need to contribute. Private corporations need to understand that they have to do their own bit.
DONOR & DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS
Ms. Alka Narang, UNDP
· The NACP programme looked very exciting and the engagement was about doing as much as possible - prevention was the main thing that would work!
· Setting the mandate for HIV was a challenge.
· Engaging with different ministries was another challenge.
· We have been talking about prevention and CST but we still need to talk about the impact mitigation. People who are marginalised are facing a very difficult time in today’s world because of the way things are.
· The corporate sector has to take care of its workers who are HIV + and it also has to look at including these marginalised groups when they are seeking jobs. “Can a transgender walk in and take a job? I doubt it!”
· HIV needs nuanced work – an ASHA worker may not go to an MSM or transgender person very comfortably even today. Such challenges also need to be looked at.
Ms. Staerwose, ILO
· ILO works a lot with the government sector and trade unions. Specifically, there are 600 workplace locations in India with whom work is happening.
· Providing technical assistance like the ILO does, helps us build own systems.
· ILO conducts surveys on attitudes and behaviour to understand impact. Infact a lot of significant conclusions have been fed into improving interventions.
· ILO has developed a lot of material on the subject that is now being used. There has been an increased demand from the private sector in the last couple of years.
FAITH BASED ORGANISATIONS
Dr. Asavari, Inter Faith Coalition
· It was in NACP III that a programme was created to mobilize faith response. In Chennai, at inter-faith gatherings, we got a personal commitment from the leaders.
· We are at a stage where faith groups are taking their own initiatives. Programmes have happened at Jamia Millia and with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Even Muslim groups want to take it to their universities. Responses have come from Sikh groups on how support can be incorporated. But there is a still a lot of stigma attached to this.
· Some groups like Art of Living have promised to incorporate HIV prevention messages.
Mr. Onir Das, Director, I AM
Talking about the fact that people are dying makes it pertinent for cross sectoral and organisational responses. The question to be asked is, “Do we care enough to talk about it and to do something to change that?”
AIDS representation in cinema is still very limited and it is considered a suicide to talk about or make a movie based on HIV/AIDS. There are also issues of screening presence of such films in partnership, and while a film on the subject gets a lot of positive response abroad, this is not the case in India.
Ms Aradhana Johri thanked Ms Sonia Singh from NDTV for moderating the session as she had to leave for another commitment. Ms Johri then made some concluding remarks, emphasising the ‘need to distinguish between awareness and correct knowledge’. She reflected on the role of the media in this respect, relating an experience from her time in UPSACS when media coverage helped promote the screening of a film on HIV.
Ms Johri also discussed the role of religious groups, and suggested that there is a scope to find teachings in all religious literature which can help sensitise people and tackle the issue of stigma in the community. Dr. Asavari added to this, stating that the document containing relevant references from religious scriptures has been sent to NACO for finalising. It is hoped that this can be used for the purpose of capacity building.