The Vice President, Hon. Edward Ssekandi visits the Unit Exhibition stall at the event in Kalungu
The President of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has launched the Central Region Presidential Fast Track Initiative to end AIDS as a public health threat in Uganda by 2030.
In his speech, read by the Vice President Hon Edward Ssekandi, President Museveni appreciated the role of stakeholders in the HIV/AIDS fight but noted that more needed to be done to ensure that there is no more AIDS by 2030 in Uganda.
In his remarks the President applauded the efforts made by all stakeholders in reducing the HIV/AIDS scourge in the country and urged men to go for HIV testing, saying “men should go for HIV testing to protect their partners; it’s important to know your status and disclose to your partner to prevent further spread of HIV”. He also referred to the current statistics that show 60% of men have been tested and 52% enrolled on treatment calling for the gaps to be covered.
Anchored in “A Presidential Handbook”, the initiative spells out plans to tackle HIV &AIDS in Uganda through a five point plan which includes; Engaging men in HIV prevention and close the tap on new infections particularly among adolescent girls and young women; Accelerating implementation of Test and Treat and attainment of 90-90-90 targets particularly among men and young people; Consolidating progress on eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV; Ensuring financial sustainability for the HIV response; and Ensuring institutional effectiveness for a well-coordinated multi-sectoral response.
At the same event which took place at the Kalungu Town Council headquarters and was attended by representatives of Uganda’s development partners, members of parliament, government officials, religious and district leaders as well as International, national and local organizations involved in research, treatment and care of persons living with HIV, the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit was commended by the Kalungu District leadership for being at the frontline of fighting HIV/AIDS in the district.
“We are grateful to Organizations like the MRC which were among the first ones to come to the forefront and support the government in the fight against HIV/AIDS which was killing our people in large numbers”, noted Hon Vincent Ssempijja the Member of Parliament for Kalungu County East. “Their work helped us to understand the disease that was killing our people and how it was acquired”, he added.
Over the years, Uganda has made progress in the fight against HIV. The country has registered significant reductions in new infections from 135,000 in 2010 to approximately 60,000 by 2016, in men and women. Further to this, new infections among children dropped from 26,000 in 2010 to 4000 in 2016. Of the 1.4 million people living with HIV, 1,041,000 people are enrolled in care and 980,954 on antiretroviral therapy.
The MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit was established under an agreement between the Ugandan and the British Governments to collaborate in the research of HIV/AIDS in 1988. The Unit’s first study site was set up in Kyamulibwa, Kalungu district in 1989 and operates an outpatient study clinic that offers clinical services to over 70 patients daily and over 25,000 patients from 25 villages annually.