Access to government schemes made easy for children affected by AIDS

Oct 2015 Urmila Chanam Photo credit: Photo credit – Urmila Chanam

Children affected and infected by AIDS, and their families, either consisting of PLHIV parents or next of kith and kin who may be looking after them after either or both parent’s death, are highly vulnerable, needful of support and entitled to all government facilities and schemes.

However, accessing government schemes that are available for their social protection is very difficult for the families of CLHIV/CABA. The families might not have awareness of the different benefits they are entitled to and if they do get the information, it is not easy running from one department to another to submit applications and fulfill the formalities, spending their time, money on travel and effort. Besides there is always the ever present issue of stigma and discrimination looming large at these many places they have to visit in the process.

The District AIDS Prevention Control Unit (DAPCU) Single Window System is a unique solution which is aimed to simplify the process of applying for different government social welfare schemes for People Living with HIV/AIDS, Children Infected and Affected by HIV/AIDS and Most At Risk Populations whereby individuals can apply for any/different schemes here without having to go to different government departments.

In Solapur district of Maharashtra, the District Programme Officer in DAPCU, Mr. Bhagwan Bhusari exhibited exemplary personal interest, unwavering pursuit and strategy to get an office space authorised for the OVC Social Protection Project within the ART Centre against government protocols and rules in Solapur Civil hospital to implement the Single Window System and increase access to government schemes by children affected by AIDS and their families. This was an outcome of the OVC project district team’s advocacy efforts with the DAPCU officials. The presence of the Single Window System point office in the ART Centre is aimed to increase access to the government welfare schemes by children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and their families who visit the ART centre. Now all the these children and their families coming to the ART centre go directly to this DAPCU Single Window System Office to learn about the different schemes and apply for it.

This is a unique and effective model of combining medical and social services being given in a hospital made possible by exemplary coordination between the OVC Social Protection Project (NGO) and DAPCU (government).

The District Programme Officer says, ‘ I made efforts out of my role after assessing the nutritional state of CABA in the district. Besides education is a growing concern that DAPCU is trying to address through the Single Window System.’

One good work leads to another and so it is with this case. Seeing the good work the OVC Project is now doing on increasing access to government schemes for CABA and families, the Medical Officer, Dr. Sunita Gaikwad, ART Centre is advocating for relaxation of documentation requirements at the time of scheme sanction for People Living with HIV/AIDS and Children Affected by AIDS.

The effort to bring government benefits to Children Affected by AIDS and their families through various schemes is heightened by the presence of the OVC Project implementing Single Window System within the ART Centre, Solapur Civil Hospital.