30 March 2010
Come April 1, the drop–in centres (DICs) for HIVpositive persons at the city’s medical schools will cease to exist. The Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) has asked the preventive social medicine departments of the state–run J J Hospital as well as civic–run KEM, Sion and Nair Hospitals to discontinue these centres.
The drop–in centres–the earliest was started in KEM Hospital six years ago–were envisaged as places in which HIV–positive persons could stop for advice, counselling or help in seeking jobs or medical assistance.
As these four hospitals are referral centres for patients from the rest of the state, a DIC was considered an appropriate addition. But the thought process appears to have changed in the last few years.
Said Dr S S Kudalkar, who heads MDACS, “According to the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), these centres should only be operated by networks of HIV positive people who can empathise with other patients and provide them with succour.” So, the DICs at the teaching hospitals would be discontinued in accordance with the NACO directive, he added.
However, Dr Kudalkar said that the centres can be operated at offices of NGOs or even hospitals by a network of HIVpositive persons. “If such a network wants to operate the DICs at these four hospitals, we would be open to the idea,” he said. Drop–in centres at offices of NGOs like Humsafar will continue to function.
Dr Alka Deshpande of J J Hospital’s ART Centre said that DICs made sense at zilla as well as taluka levels and not in a tertiary–care hospital. “The centres would be helpful in distant places where people need information and counselling services that would otherwise not be available to them. In super speciality hospitals, all these services are available to patients who walk in,” she said.
Apart from DICs, the four medical schools also have integrated counselling and testing centres (ICTCs) and ART centres that will continue to operate as usual.
Source: Times of India
Sunday, Feb 19th
Last update:05:44:44 AM IST