Ampareen chairs meeting with Health Advisory Board

Health Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh on Friday chaired a meeting with the Health Advisory Board and discussed issues related to commercial sex workers and training of traditional healers.


Speaking to reporters, Lyngdoh said, “The Advisory Board now will look at these two important segments and give valuable advice to the government as to how we can go about and get over this entire problem that we are facing in the community today.”


She said it would be in the fitness of things to assign certain assignments to these boards, which have been for so long alleged to be mere political appointments.


Lyngdoh said that the Board has been requested to come up with a project that would be looking at commercial sex workers while looking at the proportionate increase of HIV/AIDS in Meghalaya.


“I was happy to have had a detailed discussion with them wherein I have requested them to get into a project that would be looking at commercial sex workers.What is the kind of advisory that this health advisory board could give to the health department so that we can ensure that we take positive steps towards the discussion of commercial sex workers. What should we do for this group of citizens, what are the things that we need to look at, what are the challenges, what is happening in you know the debate about commercial sex workers,” she said.


“Looking at the dynamics of the proportionate increase that we see in HIV/AIDS in the state of Meghalaya, if we do not sit down bring to the open and discuss this agenda, I think we would be shying away from that responsibility of actually looking at what needs to get done to ensure that citizens are safe, citizens are advised, citizens are monitored irrespective of the kind of engagements that they have in their everyday lives,” she said.


The minister informed that the Board’s chairman Mayralborn Syiem also requested the government to allow them to engage with experts to discuss the matter of traditional medicines, traditional healers, traditional practices that are anyways very popular in communities across the state of Meghalaya.


“We have seen that there is great potential in some of the medicines or the medicinal practices that are there in this sector of work, we have seen that we are now hand-holding traditional healers through various schemes of the government of India. That they are getting the adequate attention, the adequate financial inputs to help us look at a possibility of our traditional medicines that may as well get popular and gain importance in the entire spectrum of traditional healing systems.”


Lyngdoh, who just came back from her tour to Mawkyrwat, South West Khasi Hills said that it was still alarming to know that pregnant women in the district are still opting for traditional healers for deliveries.


“We have fought the system for so long and I feel that it is just correct for the department of health who has always been looking at this important concern of involving the training of the traditional helpers who helped women deliver their babies at home,” she said. She said, “We are looking at this big gap in traditional instance a bit in institutional deliveries in that district alone and I was under the impression that since we cannot deny a citizen of the right to decide whether they’ll have the baby at home, in a sub center in their own village or will they come to a government facility or a private institution to help them deliver their babies safely to take into consideration both mother and child health in this entire situation.”



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