Times of India
08 October 2011
By ,Prafulla Marpakwar
Mumbai , India
A month ago,low-profile Thane collector A L Jarad embarked on a novel mission to provide financial assistance to HIV-positive persons, particularly those below the poverty line. “Itwas a difficulttask,butwe accomplished it. We have sanctioned financial aid of Rs 600-Rs 800to around550 peoplefrom the scheme for the destitute,” Jarad saidon Friday.
During his routine camps in rural Thane, Jarad found that most of the HIV-positive people werefacing a financialcrisis and owing to the stigma, they were unable to take up physical work. Subsequently, in collaboration with the public health department, Jarad personally conducted a survey of thedistrict.
However,HIV-positive people were reluctant to come forward to acceptfinancial assistance.As a special measure, teams were sent to the homes of 550 persons to complete the formalities for the scheme. “We sent out teams to 15 tehsils and identified the beneficiaries, provided them proof of residence, income certificate andcivilsurgeon’scertificate.Later,wesubmittedthe papers to a high-level committee, which quickly approved the financial assistance,” Jaradsaid.
In Thanedistrict alone,there are 12,000 persons undergoing treatmentfor HIV,but not all, are eligible. At the state level, a senior public health department official said, there were 4.2 lakh HIV-positive cases. “Of these, over one lakh are below the poverty line. The government should extend the Thane exercisetotheentirestate,” hesaid.
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