State govt asked to appoint HIV and AIDS Ombudsman

Our Correspondent
Kohima | September 15

The Network of Nagaland Drugs and AIDS Organization (NNagaDAO) today requested the state government to appoint HIV & AIDS Ombudsman.

In a letter addressed to the Commissioner & Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Government of Nagaland, NNagaDAO drew attention to the Nagaland Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Ombudsman and Legal Proceeding) Rule 2019 which was notified by the state government in March this year.

Quoting a notification which was issued on March 3, 2020, by Principal Secretary to the Government of Nagaland R Ramakrishnan, the letter stated: “in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 49 read with Sections 23, 24 and 25 of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act 2017, the Governor of Nagaland is pleased to notify the Nagaland Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired immune Deficiency Syndrome (Ombudsman and Legal Proceeding) Rule 2019, with immediate effect.”

Under this Rule, NNagaDAO stated that once notified, the state government must appoint Ombudsman (a retired district and session judge, or anyone who has minimum ten years working experience having extensive knowledge in matters relating to public health or health delivery system, or a qualified healthcare provider who is a physician, or a person working in NGO with similar experience and knowledge) within 60 days of the date of notification.

“The timeline for appointing Ombudsman is long overdue, thus the issue merits your urgent attention and necessary action,” stated Abou Mere, President NNagaDAO.

Mere also strongly put forth appeal to the competent authority to immediately give an open advertisement of the said position to fast track and ensure the HIV/AIDS Act 2017 and rules are implemented for the prevention and control of HIV, address stigma and discrimination, safeguard the rights of person affected by the said virus, and for the redressal and disposal of complaints of violations within the provisions of the Act and accordance with these rules, and for matters connected therewith.

The letter was also endorsed to Chief Secretary, Nagaland, Sr PS to Chief Minister, Nagaland, Sr PS to Health & Family Welfare Minister, Nagaland, Principal Director Health & Family Welfare, Nagaland and Project Director Nagaland SACS.