Sano Paila, in partnership with Friends Affected and Infected Together in Hand (FAITH) is facilitating successful implementation of TB Reach Wave – 3 Project activities, which involves intensified case finding through contact tracing in the community level in order to reduce the morbidity of TB and its further spread in Bara and Parsa districts. This project targets population of age group 0 – 14 years of age in low case finding districts i.e. Parsa, Bara and Rautahat Districts.
The primary objective of the project is to increase new smear positive TB cases in low case finding districts and vulnerable/populations at risk through systematically involving the community and health workers in the detection of additional TB cases to increase the treatment success rate. Community members and other health care providers have been mobilized to trace the contacts of the index cases. Additionally, door-to-door visit for sputum collection and referral of the TB suspects, chest camps and regular sputum smear microscopy to detect new TB cases are conducted. Orientation is given to index patients and the community. TB suspected cases are referred to further testing and treatment.
Sano Paila, in partnership with The Britan Nepal Medical Trust and Stop TB Partnership is facilitating successful implementation of TB Reach activities, which involves intensified case finding through contact tracing and initial default tracing in the community level in order to reduce the morbidity of TB and its further spread in Bara and Parsa districts. The primary objective of the project is to increase new smear positive TB cases in low case finding districts and vulnerable/populations at risk through systematically involving the community and health workers in the detection of additional TB cases and identifying primary defaulters to increase the treatment success rate. Female Community health Volunteers (FCHVs) and other health care providers have been mobilized to trace the contacts of the index cases and primary defaulters. Additionally, door-to-door visit for sputum collection and referral of the TB suspects, chest camps and regular sputum smear microscopy to detect new TB cases are conducted. Orientation is given to index patients and primary defaulters. TB suspected cases are referred to further testing and treatment.
Parsa District is connected to India by an open, chaotic border crossing in Birgunj, which is not only popular for its industries and commercial trade activities but also infamously known as the district with the largest drug problem in the country. Birgunj is an important participant in the drug trade that traffics marijuana and opium both domestically and internationally.
Nepal’s recent political transition from monarchy to a republic has left an unstable political, economic and social system in its wake, a reality that has compounded the nation’s drug problems. In the villages of Parsa, people live with little economic or physical security, and seemingly no agricultural alternatives and options. In such circumstances, the farmers of Parsa began to view drug production as a much more lucrative field than food production. Even though farmers only earn a small fraction of the finished product’s selling price, many growers switched to opium and/or marijuana in order to make a better living.
As part of Sano Paila’s continued effort and focused steps against drug abuse, we launched a youth-run campaign to advocate against marijuana and opium poppy cultivation as well as drugs trafficking in the region. In 2009, according to police and media reports, the Parsa District alone was estimated to have 60 percent of its agricultural land area under drugs cultivation. Since July 2010, we have dedicated our efforts to regain the district as a drug-free zone by partnering with all sectors of the community and by emphasizing directly on uprooting the problem and exploring alternatives.
In this endeavor, we coordinated with the Parsa District Police Office, Parsa District Administration Office, Border Armed Police Force Birgunj and Community Services Center Birgunj with a goal to decrease drug production by using direct, personal appeals to the farmers. The youth involved in this campaign have done what the police dared not to do. The police had not been willing to risk this encounter alone, and the central government was largely ignoring the issue.
Over the course of the campaign, we reached out to over 500 farmers and their families in more than 40 villages of Parsa district confronting them to explain the adverse effects their crops have on the community and attempted to convince them to cease drug production. During the interactive sessions, village leaders, police authorities, government officials, media representatives and Sano Paila members mentioned about alternatives than drug farming and talked about drug issues reflecting on how the youth from villages who migrate to cities for education and jobs are more vulnerable to drug addiction.
Sano Paila’s “role models” (recovered drug users) shared their personal experiences and stories about how they got addicted to drugs and how it had ruined their lives. Also, the Chief District Officer (CDO), on the other hand, informed about the existing laws against drugs cultivation and publicly expressed his commitment to effectively implement these laws and prosecute farmers growing narcotics. The chief of police vowed to monitor his men and guaranteed that no protection money would be raised and bribery will not be tolerated.
The results of the campaign have been positive, with drug farming currently at an all time low. According to recent media and police reports, there has been over 90 percent reduction in land area under illicit crops, once home to the country’s largest nucleus of drugs cultivation. The majority of the farmers have stopped using their land to grow narcotics and have significantly curtailed drug cultivation.
Currently, we are working together with farmer groups to explore long-term alternatives and create sustainable livelihood programs in order to prevent them from switching back to illicit crops.
Funded by the International Labour Organization under Jobs for Peace program, Youth Empowerment Fund Parsa, Sano Paila undertook the project “Raising Awareness on HIV/AIDS and Drug abuse and Building Leadership”. The objective of the program was to contribute to youth empowerment with special emphasis on dialogue and mutual understanding for peace building in the Terai.
The focus was to orient and train 38 (19 male and 19 female) individuals as Local Youth Volunteers (LYV) on Peers education and leadership development sector who then mobilized themselves in awareness raising activity at community level as well as at school level. LYVs were further encouraged and empowered to interact with district officials to demonstrate increased understanding of services.
Altogether 30 orientation campaigns, 10 street dramas on HIV/AIDS and Drug abuse and one Mass Awareness rally to mark World AIDS Day 2010 were conducted targeting over 1000 relevant young women and men, beneficiaries of Farmers Field Schools, Junior Farmers Field Life Schools and skills training of the Jobs for Peace program. Other beneficiaries were disadvantaged and common youths of Birgunj Sub-metropolitan City. During the orientation campaigns trained LYVs informed beneficiaries and general public of over 14 VDCs about the use of condoms and other issues related with HIV/AIDS and drug abuse.
The orientation campaign, street dramas and World AIDS Day Rally provided the opportunity to bring diverse range of voices including recovered drug users, individuals, communities and political leaders together to raise awareness for HIV and get people talking. Alongside, leadership development and mass communication training offered to LYVs enhanced their life and communication skills and encouraged them to discuss and communicate their views on critical issues and articulate their aspirations and perspectives peacefully.
Birgunj Outcry was Sano Paila’s first community activity and was an interactive event designed to identify, hear, and understand the emerging political, social and economic outcry of the leaders, diversified public groups along with government, pro-government and non-government officials at the time when the district was witnessing political turmoil (Madhes Revolution) and community tension. The event was dedicated to the idea that love, peace, mercy and justice should dwell at the forefront of our social and political landscape.
District leaders from 7 major political parties were the speakers and a total of 200 people representing political groups, civil society, women groups, youth associations and individuals from vulnerable communities and marginalized ethnic groups participated in the program and voiced their opinions and thoughts.