Name: Rajesh Sood
Organisation: HP State AIDS Control Society
Role: District AIDS Project Officer
I am, an epidemiologist based at Dharamshala, in the western Himalayan region of north India. Presently a manager of National AIDS Control Programme at the District level, i am passionate with increasing access to HIV prevention services including HIV testing and treatment, through awareness generation, dispelling myths and misconceptions, mainstreaming the HIV AIDS response and providing leadership and vision to team of counselors. I am also associated with various community based voluntary organizations in advisory capacity. As a Medical Doctor and having exposure and orientation for implementing public health programmes, I have earlier contributed as a manager at grassroots level for over ten years. I have earlier worked in polio eradication as block and district trainer, evaluator in National Immunization Days and mop up campaigns in high risk area of Bihar with the National Polio Surveillance Project WHO. I have been instrumental in detailed micro planning of Intensified Pulse Polio Immunization in Himachal Pradesh and using new technologies like mobile phones as a tool for improvement in polio eradication programme. I am a health activist on issues of equity and social welfare concept of health care. Immunisation, one of the most cost effective interventions in public health. In India roughly half children don’t have access to complete immunization services for six older essential vaccines. Primary health care needs to be strengthened as posts of health workers are lying vacant. At this juncture new vaccines are being introduced which is a competing interest for scarce resources. Though we need to introduce new vaccines, measles elimination could be a more urgent priority. More debates and discussions on our stand on this issue are available on firstname.lastname@example.org where a team of founder activists like Bharti, who spearheads the access to low cost intra-dermal vaccine for rabies, Jagannath who is a champion of patient rights and calls for mechanism on AEFI compensation regularly share inputs. I strongly advocate for inter-sectoral action for addressing the health issues in India, presently Inter-sectoral action in India is limited to the village council head endorsement (putting his signature) on a mathematical plan prepared by health worker. A mechanism needs to be evolved for participatory planning responsive to felt needs of the community in order to improve ownership and utilization. I believe access to basic health services is fundamental human right, and oppose privatization/ commercialization of basic services which are the basis of a welfare state. I have been proactively strengthening health programmes & generating evidence for action by operational research in current research areas of HIV Stigma, DOTS, Disease Surveillance, and Outbreak investigation with over 20 publications in various journals and presented research work at various regional, national and international forums. This year I completed Field Epidemiology Training Programme at National institute of Epidemiology, Chennai India.