Bel-Air Hospital

THE Erach and Roshan Sadri Foundation sanctioned a grant of Rs.17,91,329/- to Bel-Air Hospital, Panchgani of Indian Red Cross Society in March 2007 to (a) provide ART to young and poor HIV positive women and (b) conduct workshops to sensitize faith leaders on HIV/AIDS.

(a) The first objective of the project was to provide free ART to 100 poor women. This has been achieved as the hospital has put 100 poor women on ART. With this they have now got a new lease of life, are living a normal healthy life, some have even found employment, and are taking care of their own young ones. Due to the ongoing activity of the hospital of counselling the patient’s family members and conducting awareness programmes these women are being accepted by their families and communities too. Also these women are followed up on a regular basis to ensure ART adherence.

The project has been a huge success in attaining its goals. The hospital has a very strict policy of keeping the identity of the HIV patients confidential due to the high level of stigma in India.

(b) The hospital conducted four workshops in 2007 to sensitize faith leaders. The first one was held on 2nd and 3rd April, second on 1st and 2nd June, the third was held on 11th and 12th October and the fourth was held on 18th and 19th December. A total of 81 faith leaders have attended the four workshops. The participants were from various faiths like Hindu, Muslim, Bahai, Jain, Bramakumari and Christian and also were from different states like Kerala, Madya Pradesh,Karnataka, Andra Pradesh , Chatisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Assam and Maharashtra.The workshops have turned out to be a huge eye opener for most participants. Many had lots of misconceptions and fears about the disease but have gone back with a completely changed attitude. Also there were some who were aware of the pandemic but were not sure what to do about it.

Now many have gone back with an intention to start some activity in the field of HIV/AIDS. In fact, participants from Ujjain-M.P., Kanyakumari and Coimbotore – Tamil Nadu, Kannoor- Kerala, have even started care & support projects for patients infected with HIV. Many more are working on their proposals or are planning to send their teams to Bel-Air to learn more about care and support of HIV/AIDS patients. Besides many faith leaders we have contacted individually, many of the faith leaders who have attended the trainings have informed us of many more leaders from their community in other districts and states waiting to attend any future training programmes.

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