By Tenzin Monlam
blood sugar test and HIV test during the health fair at Yongling School on December 1, 2017. phayul photo
DHARAMSHALA, December 1: Tibetan NGOs – Kunphen Center and Tibet Charity - in association with Men-Tsee-Khang, Delek Hospital and Department of Health (CTA) observed the World AIDS Day today with a ‘health fair’ at Yongling School in McLeod Ganj.
Going by this year’s UN theme ‘Right to Health’, the collaboration of various organizations prepared HIV test, blood sugar test, dental check-up and check up for chronic joint pain for free of cost. The fair also had stalls of Ayurvedic products as well.
According to Department of Health, there are 40 patients under their care. Mingur Youdon, Head of Health and Prevention section, said, “It is important first of all for everyone to educate them about the disease properly. Many without proper knowledge cast the patient away from the society. We must not fear those with HIV AIDS, rather it becomes a collective duty of the society to look after them.”
She feels that lack of awareness on how it is spread and being a subject of taboo, most Tibetans shy away from coming out as individual suffering from the disease.
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS in the official statement on the 30th World AIDS Day said, “The right to health is a fundamental human right—everybody has the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”
Availing the facilities of free HIV test, Rinzin Dhola, a 26-year-old living in Dharamshala said, “I feel it is very important for us to take care of our health and to have regular check ups. Since we live a busy life we often forget about it. I took this opportunity since it was fee of cost and made convenient for us.”
Lha Charitable Trust also organized a separate awareness campaign at the main square of Mcleod Ganj in the afternoon. The NGO also carried out a procession around the market area to raise awareness.
According to the 2009 demographic survey by the Tibetan government in exile, AIDS is among the top 15 leading causes of death in the Tibetan Diaspora.
The Official record of UNAIDS states that a total of 36.7 million people are currently living with HIV.