Call to address HIV/AIDS among labourers

Kathmandu, August 28:

At a seminar organised today on challenges of controlling HIV infection by the Conscious Media Forum, Action AID Nepal, and Asia Pacific Peoples Alliances for Combating HIV/AIDS (APACHA), speakers said HIV infection among labourers should become a national issue and be dealt with accordingly to strengthen the country’s economic condition. APACHA member Rajendra Rawal said HIV/AIDS is a political, social and financial issue, hence all political parties should include the issues in their manifesto to ensure that the problems get addressed. “The HIV/AIDS issues should be considered a major issue as it is directly related to the formation of society,” he said. Presenting a concept paper on ‘The challenges of controlling HIV infection among labourers’, general secretary of Conscious Media Forum, Gokarna Bhatta, underscored a need for a concerted effort from all to address the problem as the disease has been spreading rapidly though billions were being spent by donor agencies

to check its spread.

“The labourers are in greater danger due to lack of awareness, financial and social condition. But less attention has been given to that area,” said Bhatta, adding, “There has been no study on unorganised labourers.” Advocate Meghraj Pokhrel said majority of labourers, who are major contributors to the financial development of the nation, should be protected from HIV/AIDS. According to the International Labour Organisation, 36.5 million people are infected

with HIV globally and it is estimated another 28 million people will be infected with HIV by another year. As per the estimation, at least 28 million people will be needed to take care of the infected people. Goma Rai of Shakti Samuha Kendra said the centre has been providing information on HIV/AIDS to workers of the carpet industry to make sure the labourers know how to protect themselves from the disease. “With support from the media, social workers and organisations working on HIV/AIDS, the spread of the disease can be controlled,” said Rai.