Friday, July 11, 2008

Red Ribbon Express: A Welcoming Initiative

The day began with all the noises of daily chores. In case you've forgotten, I've my parents and family living with me now! But does that mean I am gonna change what I've been for the last two years? Nah!

Ready and reached college for the news that classes have been suspended. And the reason was the arrival of Red Ribbon Express at Shornur Railway Station, about 40 km from Thrissur.The Red Ribbon Express was launched by the ministries of Health and Railway to travel across the nation and throw light on the causes and treatment for HIV and AIDS.

We reached Shornur Railway terminal by 12 noon. And whoa! The queue of visitors to the train was about a km long - twisting, turning and spiraling across the entire platform. The patient wait began as we were determined to see the train and the stuff inside after having travel over 40kms just for it.

At about 1p.m our end of the queue reached entry doors. There were volunteers from various non-profit organizations ,devoted to the treatment of AIDS, distributing pamphlets and stickers on general awareness about the most dreaded disease of this century.
What amused me was the street play by some professional artists who were also volunteers for the cause. Presented with a gist of humor, the play highlighted ignorance of our society regarding safe sexual practices and birth control. The play went on to female foeticides and I could see some faces surprised to hear that foeticide is an criminal offense punishable under law.

The train was totally Malayalified(all writings and explanations were being done in Malayalam). There were illustrious banners and posters on contraceptives, family planning and birth control. While one section dealt with the importance of checking quality of blood while undergoing a transfusion, another was about the safety of disposable syringes.

A map of our nation with red, white and green LEDs on it indicated the concentration of HIV/AIDS patients in various regions. The map was a clear indication of how education is related to health conditions and social outlook about a disease, that could be prevented if necessary precautions were taken.

Also under display were some medical specimen a glimpse of which i leave here.
Blessed are those souls(like mine!) who aren't doctors!
The train was definitely a new experience, and a look at the crowd could easily make one comprehend the results of such an initiative. kudos to the Railways and the Ministry of Health for this venture..

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