As the whole country is passing through the lockdown phase so is Goa continues to be under lockdown due to the Pandemic. The State Government in association with several voluntary organisations are ensuring that People Living with HIV (PLHIV) get their medicines and groceries on time at their door step, so that their immunity levels don’t fall below the threshold levels.
Several NGOs like Human Touch Foundation, Vihaan Zindagi Goa, Darpan Goa, Rishta, The Humsaath Trust Goa, Sai life Care, Lifeline foundation and Sathi Trust and others are working in association with Goa State Aids Control Society (GSACS) under its outreach program to deliver the medicines, as the positive persons need medicine under the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) regimen at their respective houses.
Speaking to News Sense, Project Director of Goa AIDS Control Society (GSCAS) Dr. Siona Gomes. “After being issued with travel permits by District Collectors of both North and South Goa and the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) Centre at Goa Medical College, Bambolim, we have delivered ART medicines to over 250 people during the lockdown period so far“
However, GSACS is not able to reach a few of them from South Goa. Hence it has roped in an agency along with NGOs in this outreach program. More than 3000 people including around 330 children and adolescents, living with HIV in Goa are vulnerable, who are on life-long anti retroviral therapy ART medicines.
One of the beneficiaries of this outreach initiative Ajay (name changed) said, “I am deeply touched by the initiative of NGOs to protect and help reach ART drugs to PLHIV especially in unprecedented times like lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreak. My ART medicines got exhausted and was left without them for around eight days. After connecting to the volunteers, I got my medicines delivered right at my place in Siolim within 24 hours. This saved me from further fall and side effects of missing my dosage. I also came to know about free ART drugs facility of the government”, said the 20-year-old HIV+ person.
Volunteers who are executing this outreach programme are – Mahesh Govekar, Muskhan Khan, Ashwini Naik and Hassan Khan from Vihaan Zindagi Goa, Azad Shaikh from Darpan Goa, Lal baig from Humsaath Trust Goa, Pramila, Nivas Patil, Narayan Nandiwale and Ashfaq shaikh from Life line foundation, Mahesh Sirsat, and Sunil Pednekar from Rishta, Zeenat Pathan, Venicia Fernandes, Basavaraj Katti, Peter F Borges from Human Touch Foundation, Hameed Pathan from Sai life Care and Vishant Chodankar from Saathi Trust.
Peter F Borges, Founder of Human Touch Foundation, said, “We have distributed essential groceries to around 60 families so far. The team has also delivered medicines to people from other states stranded in Goa due to sudden lockdown. Further, a Mexican national was also assisted with his ART medicines which were procured from Belgaum through a vegetable transporter“.
Author Nibedita Sen is a Defence Correspondent turned Fact-checker, now associated with Alt News. Nibedita is awarded by the Government of Goa, two times for her contribution in the field of Media and Journalism.