Kole, 5 December 2017:- The President of Uganda, His Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, called for increased involvement of men in efforts to tackle HIV & AIDS in Uganda. This was at the national commemoration of the World AIDS Day (WAD) 2017 under the theme ‘Reaching men, girls and young women, to reduce new HIV infections” at the Abilonino National Instructors College in Kole District. In a statement read for him by the Vice President of Uganda H.E Edward Sekandi, the President added, “More effective measures may be put in place to compel men to know their status and enable them to start on treatment and stop new infections especially to young adolescent girls.”
The government also launched the Northern Region Presidential Fast-track initiative on ending HIV & AIDS in Uganda at the commemoration.
In addition, H.E Museveni pointed out that men have poor health-seeking behaviour, hence calling for increased advocacy to encourage them to test for HIV & AIDS, and seek treatment if found positive.
He, however, applauded the work of the Civil Society Organizations and Development Partners in supporting Uganda to tackle the HIV scourge saying, “The government’s efforts with support from our partners have yielded tremendous results but we need to do more.”
Present at the function were the AIDS Development Partners (ADPs) in Uganda, who were represented by the American Ambassador to Uganda, Ms Deborah R. Malac and she reechoed the President’s message to prioritize advocacy to men. She said, “Today, more men are dying of AIDS than before. In Uganda, out of the 28,000 deaths registered in 2016, 16,000 were men.” She added that fewer men than women seek health care services and are less likely to go to health facilities to access services.
Ms Malac, nevertheless, commended Uganda on the significant progress made in the national response to HIV, citing the preliminary results of the 2016 Uganda Population HIV Impact Assessment which demonstrated that HIV prevalence among adults had declined to six percent in 2016. She committed ADP’s support to support the government end the HIV & AIDS scourge in Uganda.
The United Nations (UN) family in Uganda was represented by the UNAIDS Country Coordinator Dr. Karusa Kiragu who called for prioritization and effective allocation of more resources for an efficient HIV response saying, “Constant supply of ARVS is required if Uganda is to achieve the second 90 - of enrolment on treatment and the last 90- of adherence to treatment.” Dr Kiragu further advised all individuals, communities and families to play their roles, to test for HIV, adhere to treatment and give support to all those that are infected and affected by HIV.
Prior to the national commemoration of WAD 2017, a weeklong series of activities were organized. Implementing partners that included Civil Society Organizations, volunteers and the Ministry of Health provided HIV & AIDS services including, testing, counselling, treatment, and blood donation in the different locations of Kole district.
The commemoration was attended by different dignitaries comprising the Minister for Presidency, World Health Organization, UN Women, UNICEF, implementing partners, schools and the media.