Red Ribbon Express phase III journey set to touch Nagaland

Our Correspondent
Kohima | August 13

The 3rd phase Red Ribbon Express (RRE) journey, an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign through train is all set to touch Nagaland this month.

RRE phase III will disseminate information regarding primary prevention of HIV and services, develop an understanding about the infection to reduce stigma and discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS, strengthen people’s knowledge about the measures to be taken to prevent HIV/AIDS and adopting preventive health habits and lifestyle.

Massive preparations are on for the success of the 3rd Phase of RRE journey which is scheduled for August 17 to 18 in Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur. Nagaland’s governor Nikhil Kumar will grace the inaugural function on August 17 at 8:30 AM.

Officials from Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS), Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and Red Ribbon Club told the media persons today here that RRE is the world’s largest multi media, multi sectoral mass mobilization campaign to mainstream the issue of HIV/AIDS through train.

The RRE is a special exhibition train which comprises of 7 coaches. The first four coaches contains exhibition on HIV/AIDS issues and other health issues being addressed under National Rural Health Mission.

One coach is dedicated to providing service such as HIV counseling and testing, general health check up and STI treatment and another coach for training of the frontline workers.

Along with the train outreach activities are conducted with the help of Red Ribbon exhibition vans and folk troupes.
During the first phase of the train travelled across 22 states halting at 180 stations, the train and its outreach activities touched the lives of 6.2 million people. Further, during its one year run over 68,000 resources persons including the member of Panchayat Raj institutions, self help groups, youth organizations, health care workers, government officials and other stakeholders were trained on board in the training coach.

The second phase witnessed the train traversed through the country again covering 152 stations in 22 states. That time, partnership with National Rural Health Mission further strengthened the initiative and an additional coach with messages on reproductive and child health, tuberculosis, malaria and H1N1 were added. 8 million people were directly reached and about 80,000 district resource persons trained, about 36,000 people tested for HIV, 7500 treated for STI and about 24,000 people received general health check ups. The evaluation of RRE-II shows that the comprehensive knowledge of three routes of HIV transmission, three methods of prevention, condom use, STI prevention and treatment and other services such as ICTC, PPTCT and ART was significantly higher among respondents exposed to the RRE projects as compared to those exposed to the project.

In the 3rd phase of RRE, the train will traverse through 162 halt points in 25 states. The main focus of the programme during this phase is youth who are the main stay of any health programme.

As far as RRE journey is concerned in Nagaland, the first RRE arrived at Dimapur Railway station on March 10, 2008. During its two day stay in Dimapur, 6035 people visited HIV coaches. The bus caravan covered 16 venues reaching out to about 8000. The second phase of RRE arrived on July 1, 2010. The bus caravan visited 30 villages in Dimapur and Peren district. 4788 sensitized, 129 tested, 558 availed general health check up along with free medicines. In RRE train, about 300 people consisting of Anganwadi workers, ANMs, ASHA, SHGs and college students actively participated in the 5 trainings session. 4269 people visited HIV coaches, 258 counseled, 224 tested, 40 availed STI treatment and 62 availed general health check up.

Mentionably, the idea of RRE was developed by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, National AIDS Control Organization and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan.