22 January 2013

Uganda: First Lady Opens Sh6 Billion Health Centre

The First Lady and Karamoja Affairs Minister, Janet Museveni, has commissioned the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Health Centre and Commercial Building complex in Lukaya, Kalungu district valued at sh6.1b.

The First Lady was accompanied by the AHF President Michael Weinstein and Dr. Penninah Iutung Amor the AHF African Bureau Chief, State Minister for Health Sarah Kataike Ndoboli, Director General AIDS Commission Dr. Kihumuro Apuuli, area MPs and Kalungu district and Lukaya town council. They toured the two properties, which sit on two acres of private land.

The health facility run by the Uganda Cares Project is expected to attend to 300 patients on a daily basis. It is composed of a large waiting room that can house 100 patients at a time, six consultation rooms, three counselling rooms and three isolation rooms. It also has a pharmacy, dispensary room, a 10-bed observation room, laboratories, archives and a conference room, staff room, eight offices plus eight washrooms for staff and ten for patients. In addition to the health facility, the complex also has apartments, restaurants, banking halls, conference halls and shops.

Speaking at the ceremony Janet, a champion in the fight against AIDS, commended the Aids Health Foundation for contributing to the struggle against HIV/AIDS by providing free services and advocating for an HIV free generation for the 10 years they have been in Uganda.

Janet criticised people for relaxing and abandoning the ABC strategy, which had made headway in fighting the against the spread of HIV after the introduction of ARVs.

She also said it is shaming that the condom and circumcision, which are key components in the struggle against HIV/ AIDS are instead used by some to mock the struggle.

They even liken HIV/AIDS to malaria saying people can live with it, which she described as a tragic. Janet Museveni added that because of such complacency, Uganda, which had become popular for its struggle against HIV/AIDS, is now mocked by other countries given the rising HIV prevalence rates.

She urged the people of Lukaya and surrounding areas to fruitfully utilize the AHF health centre and stamp out HIV/AIDS. "Let us not outgrow this large facility; the numbers of infections should become less." She cited an example of pediatric wards that have been closed after successful implementation of immunisation programmes.

Weinstein, the AHF President said that an interview he watched 15 years ago on an American TV of President Museveni on the battle against AIDS, and MP Vincent Sempijja convinced him to start the Uganda Cares Project run by Ugandans in 2002. AHF, based in Los Angles USA, is the largest global organisation currently providing medical care and treatment services to 195,000 AIDS patients globally.

Weinstein dedicated the facility to the friendship between the people of America and Uganda and requested each person to make a personal commitment to protect themselves and save their future.

AHF African Bureau Chief Dr. Penninah Amor thanked Government of Uganda for their support and collaboration since 2002. The colourful occasion was graced by AHF officials from South Africa and Zambia plus dignitaries from neighbouring districts.

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