Manipur Health Minister Dr Sapam Ranjan Singh on Tuesday stressed on the need to scale up awareness on the risks of needles and syringe sharing across the state, while raising concern about the increasing cases of the said practice among injecting drug users.
He was speaking as a chief guest at a ‘World Hepatitis Day’ event held under the theme, ‘Bringing Care Closer to You-Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ on Tuesday.
The programme was organised by the National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme, National Health Mission directorate of Health Services, Manipur at the main auditorium of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), Imphal.
The Health minister said that psychoactive substances were predominantly used by urban people at one point. However, there has been a huge change in the scenario as many are becoming addicted to such substances irrespective of geographical locations, he mentioned.
Many from rural areas also tend to become drug dependent, that too in a highly risky manner of contracting other diseases, he said.
“It has become a fact that there is an increase of injecting drug users in the state. When I personally talked with some of the People Who Inject Drugs (PWID), it was revealed that many drug users share contaminated syringes and needles knowingly or unknowingly,” he mentioned while speaking on prevention of sharing needles and syringes.
Hepatitis is one of the diseases with high risk of transmission through sharing of needles and syringes. Yet, the detection of hepatitis status in the state still remains low, he said. There is a need for coordination between various line departments to combat many high-risk diseases prone to HIV/AIDS patients and PWIDs, he added.
PWIDs are also part of the society and it should focus on bringing them in the right direction rather than ignoring them, he said. The state government had launched a war on drugs with the vision to keep the youths and the people of the state free from drug addiction and to build a healthy state.
Director of Health Services Dr Khoirom Sasheekumar Singh; project director of Manipur State AIDS Control Society, Haobam Roshita Devi and director of JNIMS, Dr L Deben Singh also attended as president and guests of honour respectively.