Gov’t Urged To Double Funds In AIDS Fight


approved geneva;”>While addressing journalists in Kampala today, Thursday, UNAIDS country coordinator, Mr. Musa Bungudu warned that HE president Yoweri Museveni and First Lady, Janet Kataaha’s intensified efforts to combat the scourge could be rendered futile if the government does not pump more funding in the campaign against the virus.

“The rate at which AIDS claimed the lives of Ugandans a decade ago, trimming down the country’s average life expectancy from 51 to 43, one wonders where the country would be now if it wasn’t for the introduction of Anti-retroviral drugs [ARVs] which somehow suddenly revived people’s hope for survival,” said Bungudu.

Museveni recently commanded world news headlines when he showed up for a public HIV/AIDS test in Kampala as a way of bolstering the drive to have every Ugandan tested.

Despite being globally recognised for championing the fight against the killer disease, the international body has expressed concern that most of Uganda’s funding in the fight against AIDS is coming from abroad and that in case this is disrupted for a moment, the country could be engulfed in an immense crisis.

He noted, however, that world over, 9.7 milion AIDS patients are on ARV treatment and 577,000 of these are Ugandans.

Appallingly, 91.3 percent of the ARVS for these Ugandan patients are being funded by the US government mainly through its USAID and CDC programs, while Uganda government funds the remaining 8% with help from Global Fund.

“This basically implies that the battle against AIDS in Ugandan is being fought by the American government, and as UN, we are concerned about what would happen to this country if by any means the flow of aid was blocked for a time,” Bungudu pointed out.

He then proceeded thus: “I would like to commend the efforts of Uganda AIDS Commission and the First Lady who managed to talk the president into active participation in this campaign, but it goes without saying that in case of any shock in the current running of business, all these efforts might be rendered futile.”

As the Millennium development goals deadline closes in, it is being estimated that if 15 million Ugandans went for an HIV test by 2015, about 400,000 of these would turn out positive.

Added to the 577,000 who are already on ARVs and 80,000 babies being born with the virus every year, Uganda would have about 1 milion people in need of ARVs.

Bungudu, therefore, called for increased funding in the campaign and advocated for the establishment of an AIDS Trust fund being supported by both government and the private sector, to complement government’s annual budgetary allocations to the campaign.

At the event, Uganda AIDS Commission Chairman, Prof Vinand Natulya, said that they were already in talks with government to have this fund established by the next financial year.


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