Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, Mar 05, 2005

About Us
Contact Us
Metro Plus Mangalore
Published on Saturdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Property Plus | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Mangalore    Pondicherry    Tiruchirapalli    Thiruvananthapuram    Vijayawada    Visakhapatnam   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

All for AIDS

S. Sundararaman tries to make a difference when it comes to tackling a stigmatised condition such as AIDS



S. Sundararaman: `A simple act of assurance including a reassuring touch is enough.'

WHAT IS common between Patch Adams, Munna Bhai MBBS and S. Sundararaman? Confused? Fret not. Apart from the fact that the first two are names of well-known movies starring the sublime Robin Williams and doughty Sanjay Dutt, the third person on the list is a very down-to-earth man, whose work with HIV/AIDS is admirable. This selfless man has committed his life to combating this dreaded disease in his own way.

A psychiatrist by profession, Dr. Sundararaman has served as the technical advisor to the UNDP HIV and Development Programme in Asia. An expert in the field of AIDS, Dr. Sundararaman's tryst with the disease began with the discovery of first case of HIV in India in 1986 at Chennai. He is associated with the United Nations through his role in assessing technical service delivery for UNAIDS (India), advising on the content of the HIV information portal. Currently, he is on the technical panel of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Sundararaman who was in the city recently to take part in a State-level seminar on HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse organised by the Bhandary Foundation here took time off to speak to MetroPlus about various issues related to AIDS.

Doctors can't run

His biggest concern was the fact that doctors and nurses, who are expected to treat AIDS patients, are the ones who are not able to exorcise their ghosts about the disease.

"Apathy on the part of medical institutions to deal with HIV/AIDS and poorer recognition on part of society about the disease is worrisome," he notes.

"There is enough evidence to prove that HIV can be treated effectively, if not completely. What we need are people to show compassion towards those suffering from AIDS and not shun them. A simple act of assurance including a reassuring touch can alleviate their fears," he points.

Noting that even highly literate people still finds it difficult to come to terms with those living with AIDS, Dr. Sundararaman says it is better to stress on prevention in such circumstances.

"It is the easier and cheaper option, and one which produces higher results. We have seen this work remarkably well in the case of a nationwide war against polio through pulse polio," he says.

Asserting that statistics are meaningless in combating AIDS epidemic, he says: "People do not relate to statistics. They only relate to human stories, especially if it concerns one among them. Otherwise it is still a case of third-party attitude to the disease. One can easily feel that the human dimension to the disease is totally missing. People recognise the threat only when they relate to it on a more personal level," he rues.

Reiterating that greater commitment is needed from the society to combat spread of AIDS and recurrence of newer cases, Dr. Sundararaman stresses on the need for progressive and liberal attitudes on part of governments in this endeavour. "Most governments in South India are very progressive in their efforts to tackle the disease. But their follow up process is suspect. Even the bureaucracy needs to be part of this effort," he says.

NGOs essential

Not averse to participation of NGOs in this effort against AIDS, Dr. Sundararaman points out it is essential for little people with small resources to be a part of this effort.

"In fact, it is the individuals who through their networks have responded remarkably to this emerging scene," he says, adding: "Their contribution is much more valuable than all the resources that governments and organisations can pool in."

JAIDEEP SHENOY

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Mangalore    Pondicherry    Tiruchirapalli    Thiruvananthapuram    Vijayawada    Visakhapatnam   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Property Plus | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2005, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu