KAMPALA – The minister in charge of the presidency Esther Mbayo has revealed that alot of success in fighting the spread of AIDS was registered by the end of last year prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Mbayo was on Wednesday, May 6 addressing press at Uganda Media Center ahead of the international HIV candlelight commemorative day that is slated for May 17, 2020.
She said despite the disruptions presented by the pandemic, there’s need to ensure that AIDS as a public health threat is ended by 2030.
“Currently, alot of our national efforts are geared towards management and prevention of COVID-19. However I want to use this opportunity to remind the country that we should not relax our efforts and commitment towards preventing and ending HIV and Aids, ” she said.
“These are going to be carried out in a scientific way that takes into consideration the existing Presidential guidelines on social distancing,” she told the press.
Mbayo urged the public to participate by sharing actions on various media platforms including social media, radio, TV’s among others.
She also urged leaders especially RDCs to ensure that people living with HIV are supported to maintain their regilar access to medication.
“This will ensure that the country doesn’t lose out on the HIV gains that we have achieved over the years,” said Mbayo.
The minister also urged people living with HIV to utilize their networks within their communities to access the health units for refills of ARVS.
Commenting on the same, the chairperson of the Inter Religious Council of presidents Dr Samuel Kazimba Mugalu said the pandemic has overshadowed other pandemics like HIV/AIDs which equally needs to be addressed.
“The Council therefore calls for an integrated and inclusive response that addresses all the on-going initiatives on HIV and AIDS, malaria prevention, TB treatment and access to essential Sexual and Reproductive Health services; among others,” he said.
He said a relapse and failure to address the above, may lead to a rise in maternal and new born morbidity and mortality, increased incidences of malaria cases, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS, un-planned pregnancies and complications of child birth.
“We, therefore, call upon government, development partners and the civil society to make every effort to ensure that essential health care services, including malaria prevention, HIV and AIDS and Sexual and Reproductive Health remain available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we call upon HIV and AIDS service providers to avail at least three months’ supply of drugs (ARVs) to people living with AIDS during this time, ” he said