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Supporting their friend in need, claiming their dues for themselves, and for others like them


Shivanna lives with his aging mother and two younger sisters. He has no father or any other family to support him. Recently, he and his family had a major shock, when his youngest sister was suddenly seized with an epileptic attack.

At this moment, Shivanna turned to help from his only source of support, Aptamitra, the CBO of the MSM community. Shivanna himself was a part of this community and therefore a member of the CBO. Immediately, the CBO came to the assistance of their gelaya (friend). They helped him take his sister to the government hospital. The hospital referred them to the OP section where they could see a specialist. But in this section, they demanded a huge amount for the treatment. The group protested, Shivanna had a card which verified that his family was below poverty line and therefore he had to have free access to health care in the government hospitals. But still the hospital was not willing to do it free. They finally said at least Rs. 3000 had to be paid before they would proceed with treatment. The group decided that the priority was to get the treatment started, hence they paid the amount.

After completing the treatment, the girl’s condition stabilized. Apthamitra took this opportunity to start their protest against the hospital, for demanding money for medical services to a BPL family. The protest was a long one, they spent over three days on it. But finally the hospital authorities saw the error of their ways. They apologized for their behavior and returned most of the money to the group. They also promised that in future, any member of their group could seek services from them and if they had the proper documentation and BPL card, they would be treated entirely free of cost, as was their entitlement.

Apthamitra, which literally means ‘A friend in need’ were just that for Shivanna, in his hour of need. Not only that, they were enterprising and sensitive and aware of their rights. They prioritized that the girl’s health was most important, and were able to between them generate money to meet the hospital’s demands. Yet they were also keenly aware of their rights and not willing to keep quiet about this instance. They demanded their rights, and ensured that the hospital would now practice what was they were required to , which is extend services free of cost to all families below poverty line.

 

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2 Responses to “Supporting their friend in need, claiming their dues for themselves, and for others like them”

  1. It is so difficult to mobilise the community in the rural setting so open as people don’t want to disclose their identity as MSM. But, it is really heartening to know that the community got together to support their friend’s issue in spite of identity fear.

  2. Dear colleagues I read the Shivanna story and wondered of their thinking of way and deep committment to thier friends or community member,timely they took the fantastick decision.themselves they have been meaningful associated with thier title.


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