Sri Lanka on its way to combat HIV/AIDS and other dieases
Millennium Development Goal
Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS
Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it
Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases
Sri Lanka is among those few countries in the region which has a low-level HIV epidemic. According to the Millennium Development Goal country report 2008-09, a cumulative total of 1,029 persons have been detected with HIV infection, and 266 persons with AIDS. More than 60 percent of the reported HIV infections in 2006 were in the Western province.
An awareness survey was done in some districts of Sri Lanka to know that how much people are aware of the harmful effects and the way to overcome this epidemic disease.
According to a Survey done for Condom users, among married women using contraception, following points were reveled-
- The condoms were accepted as a reliable contraceptive method and have been used increasingly among married couples and the percentage using them has doubled within the twenty year interval spanned by 1987 and 2007. On the average, 5.7 percent of married women using contraception have used condoms in 2006-07
- Marginal differences are observed between the urban & rural sectors, but the contrast is quite significant between the estate sector and the other areas, the preference for condoms has being three times higher among urban and rural couples as against those in the states.
However, the country is still vulnerable to the development of concentrated HIV epidemic due to the high-risk behavioral patterns and networks. And only about one-third of the population aged 15-24 years possesses comprehensive knowledge about HIV infection.
An official report shows that the deadly HIV is commonly spread in a people of age group 15-49 years and almost 80 percent lies in the group of 25-49 out of which 44 percent are women.
There is also different level of awareness against HIV in different districts of Sri Lanka among people. Only one person out of every three persons in this vulnerable age group has been able to reach the minimum standard required. It is observed that knowledge about HIV/AIDS is comparatively lower in the estate sector, among men as against women, and among teens (15-18years) as against the older age group of (18-24years). Awareness about the disease shows a positive correlation with the educational level of the individual.
MALARIA AND OTHER DISEASES
Even though spread of malaria occurs in most parts of the country, the overall malaria situation in Sri Lanka is improving significantly. Morbidity levels due to Malaria have seen a sharp downward trend since 1990, and it is no longer considered as a life threatening disease in Sri Lanka. Outbreaks of the infection in epidemic proportions have not been reported in the recent past. However, the disease has not been wiped out still in the endemic areas in the dry zone and conflict affected Northern and Eastern provinces.
Awareness among the people has helped to minimize the spread of Malaria in different districts of Sri Lanka. The widespread of knowledge of using bednet as a preventive method against malaria has significantly risen in all the districts of Sri Lanka. According to a survey an average of 62 percent of children below five years of age claims to sleep under a bednet. This practice also has some differences in rural and urban regions, The practice of using a bednet to protect pre-school children from the mosquito menace is highest among rural households (67%), followed by urban dwellings (53%).
Another serious health concern in Sri Lanka is spreading of Tuberculosis which is almost 8000 new cases every year and recent figures shows an increasing trends of the diseases over the year.
The overall incidence rate of TB stood at 42 per 100,000 population in 2006. It is much higher in Kandy, Vavuniya, Colombo and Kalutara districts .The risk of getting infected with TB appears to rise with age, with the lowest incidence rate reported for children under 14 years and the highest incidence rate for elders over 55 years of age.
Directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) was implemented initially in one district of Sri Lanka and later in whole island. The rise in the number of new cases was subsequently lowered by the implementation of DOTS in almost twenty two districts. A figure says that almost 83.3% TB cases in 2006 were cured in eleven districts out of twenty two districts where it was implemented.
So in all, we can say that Sri Lanka is on its track to achieve Millennium Development Goal of Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases.