My recent fieldwork in North East India for Drugs and AIDS Care (NEIDAC) , Shillong was a rich learning experience for me as a social work student. The organization is involved in addressing care and support of HIV/AIDS in partnership with local churches in Shillong. It encourages churches to mobilize local resources in order to provide compassionate care to families infected/affected with HIV/AIDS. During my fieldwork I had the opportunity to meet some of the Organisations working on issues associated with HIV/AIDS.
Some of my observations were:
- Involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) from within the context in mobilizing other PLWHAs may bring more effective and positive change in regard to skills, attitude and knowledge and help give voice to the rights of PLWHAs in partnership with community.
- Multisectoral approach involving the major sectors in the society; the health care professionals, community based organizations, educational institutions, communities, families and all others who are involved in the same cause needs to work together in order to provide better care and support mechanism.
- To enable people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) have access to available resources there is a need to change the attitude towards PLWHAs as individuals, families and communities. The social stigma attached to the infection becomes the barrier in reaching out to each other.
- Identifying gaps and understanding own limitations as organizations can be one of the strengths in addressing the existing gaps in service delivery. This can be achieved through efficient networking as partners among organizations who are involved in the same cause.
- Role of the church: Churches in the North East region are potential resources in the community because of their influence and ability to address resourcefully in the aspects of social, economic and spiritual dimensions of families and communities. Churches can become the key resource in order to address HIV/AIDS in compassionate care and support in collaboration with all other organizations. ( Rhondeni Kikon)