Inauguration of ART Dispensation Centres in Central Jails
Rongili Barta- Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Dispensation Centres at 6 Central Jails across Assam was centrally inaugurated at Central Jail, Guwahati today by Minister for Health & FW, Govt of Assam, Shri Keshab Mahanta. The 6 Central Jails include the Central Jails of Guwahati, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur and Nagaon. During her welcome speech, Inspector General , Prisons, Assam Smt Barnali Sharma, ACS, thanked the Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS) for taking such an initiative for providing ART medicines in jails which will be very helpful for the prison inmates who are infected by HIV. She requested for establishment of Drug De-addiction Centres in jails which will be immensely helpful for the drug users and also requested installation of a digital x-ray machine in jails. Project Director, Assam State AIDS Control Society (ASACS), Pomi Baruah, ACS, in her speech said, “Assam is the 5 th state in the country to have ART Dispensation Centres in jails and I believe that these centres will be very much beneficial to the prison inmates who are infected with HIV. For various security reasons, it becomes difficult for an HIV-infected prison inmate to avail HIV treatment in ART Centres located in hospitals. Now, with the establishment of ART Dispensation Centres in jails, the prison-inmate can avail ART at door step.” She further said that these ART Dispensation Centres will be linked with 9 ART Centres which are located in medical colleges and district hospitals across Assam and very soon all medical colleges will have ART Centres. She further said, “There is Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) services for injecting drug users in Central Jail, Guwahati and very soon OST services will be made available in other jails across Assam. Speaking on the occasion Principal Secretary to Govt of Assam, Shri Avinash Joshi, IAS, appreciated the efforts ASACS and jail authorities and said, “Assam being the 5 th state to initiate ART Dispensation Centre in Central Jails is an achievement by itself. I hope such centres will go a long way in helping the HIV-infected prison inmates.” Minister for Health & FW, Govt of Assam Shri Keshab Mahanta while presiding the inauguration ceremony as chief guest said, “Prisons were considered as punishment homes during the British era but now-a-days prisons are temples of reformation where a prison inmate gets an opportunity to get himself reformed. Besides, health facilities, facilities like library for the inmates are already there and now we are going a step further by establishing ART Dispensation Centres and OST services so that prison inmates can avail the treatment in jails itself.” He further appreciated the efforts undertaken by PD ASACS Pomi Baruah and IG Prisons, Barnali Sharma under the guidance of Principal Secretary to Govt of Assam, Health & FW Deptt Avinash Joshi for establishment of ART Dispensation Centres in Central Jails. The inaugural function which saw the presence of officials from ASACS and Central Jail, Guwahati concluded with vote of thanks from Superintendent, Guwahati Central Jail, Gobinda Malakar.