3 February 2009

Uganda: 350,000 Patients to Get Aids Drugs

Kampala — THE health minister, Stephen Mallinga, has said the Government has procured anti-retro viral drugs (ARVs) worth sh60b for 350,000 HIV/AIDS patients.

Mallinga disclosed this while launching the Routine Counselling and Testing Services at Masaka Hospital on Saturday.

He said the Government wanted to increase HIV/AIDS clients on ARVs by 200,000 people.

Mallinga said currently, only 150,000 HIV-positive people had access to ARVs from the Government.

He added that the Anti Retroviral Therapy programme in Uganda was the leading against AIDS in Africa.

"We need more CD4 count machines because they are crucial for increasing the enrolment for the ART programme," Mallinga said.

He said only 25% of Ugandans knew their HIV status, adding that the campaign would be universal and everyone needed to know their status.

Mallinga said the programme had been introduced in 11 referral hospitals and would later be taken to health centres.

He also noted that tuberculosis was gradually rising because of AIDS.

Meanwhile, the health ministry has raised the CD4 count points from 200 to 350 for the enrolment of HIV-positive patients on anti-retroviral therapy.

The clinical and community services health director, Dr. Nathan Kenya, said: "The initial qualification of 200 CD4 count was getting inadequate."

He cautioned the public about thinking that circumcision and condom use were the perfect ways to fight HIV/AIDS.

Kenya said the Japanese government had donated funds to recruit more medical workers.

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