Focus on local languages to control AIDS: Experts

Kathmandu, September 26:

Participants of an interaction programme today stressed the need to use local culture and languages to combat HIV/AIDS. “The development programmes failed because they could not include the culture, language and other aspects of the deprived communities,” said Gokarna Bhatta of Conscious Media Forum (CMF) presenting a concept paper at an interaction on Inclusion, Language politics and HIV/AIDS organised by the CMF. Bhatta said majority of the ethnic people and communities are not covered by the development projects because the state has conserved the access of very few ethnic people and their religion and language. He further said the nature of the prevalence of the disease has showed that the state-neglected and deprived communities are the most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Even more vulnerable are the people from the Dalit, Janajatis and Madhesi communities who are compelled to go abroad for foreign employment, the paper said.

Addressing the interaction, Prabodh Devkota of the Action-Aid said all the reports on HIV/AIDS are published either in English or Nepali, which is worthless for over 50 per cent of the Nepalis who do not understand these languages. Mahendra Tamang of Nepal Tamang Ghedung said that Tamang girls are smuggled to Indian brothels by smugglers after alluring them by several methods and this has been going on despite several attempts by the government to control such activities. Chaitanya Subba, coordinator of the Janajati Empowerment Project, said more than 100 languages are on use in Nepal but the state has always practiced the language politics.