21 October 2011

Uganda: 'HIV/Aids Response Faltering'

Once touted as a success story in the fight against HIV/Aids, but recent evidence is shows that Uganda's response to the scourge is faltering.

The executive director of National Community of Women living with HIV/Aids, Ms Florence Buluba, told celebrants marking the life of Philly Bongoley Lutaaya in Mbale on Wednesdday that although Uganda was a success story in the fight against HIV/Aids, it is faltering today.

Uganda brought down the HIV/Aids prevalence from 18 per cent in 1992 to the current 6.2 per cent. But today, an estimated 132,500 new infections is registered annually, with 25,000 of are being newborn babies.

Figures from Uganda Aids Commission show that in the last one year, 60,000 new cases were registered.

"Uganda is the only major recipient of Global Funds with raising cases of new infection, with an estimated 132,500 cases from 150,000 in 2007, 110,000 cases in 2008 and 124,000 in 2009," Ms Buluba said.

She said Shs50 billion meant for HIV from the Global Fund is unutilised because of bureaucratic procurement process and implementation.

She also said evidence is clear that neighbours Kenya are ahead of us as a new model, adding that in Kenya, accelerated scale-up could reduce new infections by 31 per cent over five years.

The chairman of Uganda Aids Commission, Prof. Vinad Nantulya, said the commission is making changes on procurement process to ensure efficient release of ARVs for patients.

Dr Nantulya said the current reversal of Uganda's success is being accompanied by complacency, urging better use of the ABC prevention strategy.

Ms Jane Tushabe, World Vision's head of workplace policy on HIV/Aids, said besides the ABC strategy, Ugandans should include sex behaviour interventions and biomedical interventions such as male circumcision.

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