By Johnbosco Tugume
President Yoweri Museveni has challenged health officers and other stakeholders in the HIV/AIDS fight to accelerate the testing and treating practices as envisioned in the country’s target to end the virus by 2030.
This was contained in his message read for him by the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Gen Kahinda Otafiire at Duhaga playground, Hoima district on Wednesday during the western regional stakeholder’s engagement on the presidential fast-tracking initiative to end HIV/AIDS by 2030.
The initiative follows concerns by the President about the increasing prevalence of the killer disease in the last few years despite tremendous achievements in the past.
This is a second regional rollout of the initiative after launching one for Northern Uganda in Kole district last year.
He said although the country has registered strides in reducing the virus prevalence rate to 6 percent, this is still high. He challenged men and youth to embrace HIV/AIDS testing.
President Museveni said once the initiative is embraced, the 52,000 number of people who get infected every year would reduce.
It’s estimated that over 1.3 million people are living with HIV/AIDS while HIV Prevalence rate for Bunyoro stands at 5.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Dr Patrick Tusiime, the commissioner for National Disease Control in the ministry of health said government is committed to addressing funding gaps in fighting HIV/AIDS.
He added that the ministry plans to operationalize the AIDS Trust Fund beginning next financial year.
Dr. Tusiime was responding to complaints raised by HIV victims on the persistent ARV drug stockouts, limited human resources in health facilities among others.
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate for Hoima stands at 6.7%, Kibaale 7%, Kakumiro 5.9%, Kagadi 5.7%, Masindi 5.7% and Kiryandongo 5.9% as of 2017.
Kadir Kirungi, the Hoima LC5 chairman asked the ministry to lift the ban on the recruitment of health workers in the region to fill human resource challenges in health facilities.