A friend in need is a friend indeed

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Police Personnel supporting the work of Vihaan team, Alliance India.

Police Personnel supporting the work of Vihaan team, Alliance India.

Often, we hear a lot of negative stories of police in print, electronic and social media, especially during this lockdown period. At times, however, they are extremely supportive. These champions from our law enforcement agencies need to be given due recognition as well. Rakesh Singh (name changed to protect identity) is from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. He is taking ART (antiretroviral therapy) medicine from his home town. Before the announcement of lockdown, he had come to Lucknow for a business trip, got stuck in Lucknow because of the lockdown. Since he was running short of ART medicine, he made a panic call to Care and Support Centre (CSC) and ART team in Jamshedpur. His contact details and medicine requirements were shared with Uttar Pradesh (UP) team. Vihaan CSC team of Alliance India in UP undertook a prompt follow-up. While talking to the beneficiary, the CSC team understood that he is in an area that is sealed down and Outreach Workers (ORWs) are not allowed to go there. By this time the beneficiary had reached a desperate state because he had just a few tablets left and his efforts to get medicine from online shops and local medical stores went in vain. Mrs. Diksha, Project Coordinator from CSC Lucknow contacted 112 (emergency response support system) and explained to them about this case. After understanding the procedure, she guided the beneficiary to call 122 (emergency services helpline) and take support. Responding rapidly, a police officer visited Mr. Singh’s place on the same day evening and handed over the medicine. Mr. Vimlesh Kumar, Programme Manager, Vihaan UP later messaged to the beneficiary for confirmation whether he had received the medicine or not. The beneficiary replied saying that he was thankful to the CSC team of Alliance India for treating him as a family member and also for arranging medicine through police personnel.

In Sitamarhi district of Bihar, the Vihaan CSC team mobilized ration and medicines for needy beneficiaries. When they sought permission to visit the beneficiaries’ place, officers from armed forces accompanied the team and supervised their work. In that event, 27 beneficiaries received ration and 2 out of them received their ART medicine from the CSC team as well. Police officers appreciated the efforts of the Vihaan team and assured their continued support to the work of Alliance India.

But life is not so easy in all the places. In Odisha, an ORW was obstructed and in Karnataka, two-wheelers of the Vihaan CSC team were seized. However, the teams are continuously engaging with police to get their support. In another example from Azamgarh district in UP, CSC Project Coordinator approached Superintendent of Police (SP) and explained to him about the importance of ART medicine as a life-saving drug for people living with HIV. SP immediately took a photograph of the green booklet (for Pre- ART and on ART patient) and shared the same on their internal police department WhatsApp group and instructed all the officers to allow people with green booklet to visit the nearest hospital for their ART medicines.

The UP case was discussed during the Vihaan team’s virtual meeting with all state partners and it was decided that the team would take the help of the police team to deliver the medicine wherever our CSC team couldn’t reach. Vihaan team of Alliance India is also thankful to many State AIDS Control Societies including Kerala, Karnataka, and Odisha for writing letters to their respective Director Generals of Police for permitting ORWs to move around and ART medicine delivery.

Like doctors and medicos, police officers are also playing their important role in combating COVID-19. We understand that they have to work in very adverse situations, stretched duty hours, often portrayed negatively by public and media, keeping themselves away from family and exposing themselves to the risk of COVID-19. But still, they are very supportive and extend all possible support in our work. Vihaan team of Alliance India acknowledges the support of police fraternity and salutes their dedication and determination in the fight against Corona.

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