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Global award for educating truck drivers

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Global award for educating truck drivers. Steel city wins recognition

for spreading AIDS awareness


Jamshedpur, March 24: What began as an attempt to create HIV/AIDS

awareness among truck drivers in and around Jamshedpur has now bagged

an international honour.

In a recent move, US-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has

declared the HIV intervention project at Jamshedpur truckers' colony

at Mango, run by the Tata Steel Family Initiative Foundation (TSFIF),

as one of the five most successful projects in the country.

In association with the Transport Corporation of India (TCI), the

partner agency in the project, the project has been given the

prestigious Golden Standard Certificate by the Gates Foundation.

A team from TSFIF was in Jaipur last week to receive this honour.

" The truckers' project here is run under the aegis of Avahan, an

India AIDS initiative set up in 2003 and funded by the Gates

Foundation in over 10 states across India. This is the first time

Jamshedpur has been chosen as one of the best in the country, " said

Anjali Nair, the project co-ordinator of the truckers' project here.

The official name given to this project is Project Kavach.

The goal of this project is to arrest the spread of AIDS among long-

distance truck drivers in India. The other transport colonies that

bagged the award are Dhanbad, Nagpur, Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar,

Delhi, Ghaziabad and Agra.

" The Gates Foundation along with TCI lays down certain conditions

which have to be followed in implementing HIV/AIDS awareness related

to sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the region. Only those

centres that follow the rules and bring about drastic results are

given this honour, " added Naik.

TSFIF functions through Khushi clinics at Transport Nagar where

doctors conduct regular health check-up camps for truck drivers apart

from making them aware of impending problems.

" We have five Khushi clinics in Jamshedpur and one at Transport Nagar

in Mango, " added officials. Launched in July 2005, over 48,000

truckers have received treatment at Khushi clinics.

Authorities at TSFIF have now decided to continue with the awareness

programmes with a renewed vigour.

Several programmes would be launched to reach out to a large number

of masses, the foremost being a musical talent hunt and a special

award for the truck which spread the message of AIDS awareness in the

best possible manner.


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