KAMPALA – The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has expressed dissatisfaction over government’s failure to release the AIDS Trust fund to expedite Uganda’s fight to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
“I don’t understand why most of the time, I have to direct ministry of Finance to release the funds because it was the same case with SAGE funds. I don’t know why government is slow,” said Kadaga.
While launching the Uganda AIDS Commission’s First Annual Report for the Presidential Fast -Track Initiative for Ending Aids as a Public Health threat at Parliament on June 18, the speaker said that it was sad that as parliament did their part and up to now, nothing has been done about it.
She pledged to direct the finance ministry to release the funds by the end of the financial year as stipulated by the law
Mr Nelson Musoba, the Commissions acting Director General decried the delay in releasing the fund thus affecting the Presidential First Track Initiative campaign, and yet the AIDS epidemic is still a burden in Uganda.
“If funding towards provision of treatment is increased, Uganda will be able to put at least 90% of all people living with HIV on ARTs. Currently government funding towards HIV/Aids service delivery stands at 12% yet the target is to increase it to 40%,” said Musoba
He further implicated some of the sister departments that often think AIDS is an obligation of the commission and Ministry of Health overlooking the fact that it was shared responsibility for everybody.
“Men are slow on uptake of services and they are the ones who are more hit by the epidemic. We are designing new interventions to target them at their workplaces,” Musoba said.
According to statistics from Uganda AIDS Commission, new infections reduced from 135,000 in 2010 to 46,000 in 2017 with HIV infections among children dropping from 26,000 in 2010 to 4000 by the end of 2016.
It is estimated that there are over 1.32million people living with HIV in Uganda. Of these, 1,084,689 are enrolled in care and 1,081,733 were on antiretroviral treatment by December 2017.
The Speaker emphasised the need for more involvement of the fishing community, bodaboda riders, mining industry and people entertainment like video halls in the fight to end the AIDS epidemic in Uganda
The assistant Commissioner for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), Patrick Tusiime clarified that subsequent to launch of the Presidential Fast -Track Initiative, there is need to refocus on the epidemic to stop it from being a public health threat.
According to UPHIA of 2016, HIV prevalence was higher from 7.6percent in 2011. In 2016, the prevalence was 6percent in the adults, in women it stood at 7.5percent compared to 4.3percent in men.
Among young women, the HIV prevalence rate stood at 7.1percent compared to 5.5percent rural areas. The magnitude of HIV prevalence indicated a demographic variation with 2.5percent in West Nile, 2.1percent in mid-east (15-24) and lowest among adults between 15-19years and highest (14percent) in men aged 45-49.