Visakhapatnam: City-based NGOs have demanded that the Government of Andhra Pradesh provide pension to all HIV positive persons in the state so that they can lead a dignified life.
On the occasion of World AIDS Day, members of the Society of Visakha Network stressed on issues facing HIV positive individuals. According to another non-profit organisation, Balamma Foundation, the government has failed to provide a pension of Rs 500 a month to HIV positive children under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Many of the adults are also not receiving the pension of Rs 1,000 per month.
In 2014, the AP government extended the NTR Bharosa Pension to patients and issued orders to grant Rs 1,000 a month to each person. Out of 3.5 lakh individuals suffering from AIDS in the state, the government offers pension to only 40,000. There are over 30,000 patients in Visakhapatnam district alone.
T. Lakshmi, president of a community-based organisation, said the patients should avail free Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) from government hospitals rather than spending their money on treatment at private hospitals. Though there is no cure for this disease, a patient can survive around 20 years with proper medication and care, she said.
Balamma Foundation chairman Malakonda Chilakala asked the government to allocate some budget for the welfare of HIV positive persons. He stressed the need to build community care centres for them. He said the government hospitals do not admit patients without escorts. “Recently, a 35-year old HIV positive patient Koruvella Srinivas died mainly due to lack of a shelter. He was isolated by his wife, sister and brother. The nursing staff from the temporary hospitalisation ward for leprosy and AIDS at King George Hospital (KGH) did not admit him as there were no escorts. And we couldn’t save him,” Chilakala said.
However, the KGH has been successful in performing a heart surgery to an HIV positive woman. Several government and private hospitals in the state refused to operate in the last eight years. With the recommendation of the NGOs, the KGH doctors performed the surgery on this patient and saved her life.
Dr K. Sagar Babu, a cardiac surgeon at KGH, performed the surgery and discharged the patient in seven days just like a regular patient. He said the government hospital has taken the necessary care so that the disease may not spread to other patients.
While doing the operation, the doctor has gone for double sterilisation of the instruments and used more disposal items....