Gov't Foretells Fish Crisis over HIV/AIDS Scourge


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side effects geneva; font-size: small;”>Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries expressed concern on Wednesday over how such an unhealthy section of the population would manage to produce fish for the country.

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This was during the Launch of a Report on HIV knowledge, attitudes and practices of the fisher folk (Fishing Communities) in Uganda.

Recent surveys have indicated the HIV prevalence amongst fishing communities as going up to 35 percent compared to the national prevalence which currently stands at 7 percent.

The Ministry’s Head of Fisheries Department Mr Jackson Wadanya told reporters in Kampala on Tuesday that government’s short term and long term plans to enhance fish production for the rising population are being threatened by the unrelenting HIV scourge.

“Today, the fisher folk is producing about 450,000 metric tons of fish annually, which must be multiplied severally to catch up with 100million strong population by 2040,” said Wadanya.

One of the strategies to achieve this has been bolstering fish farming, which currently contributes about 100,000 tons to the annual production.

However, Wadanya notes that with the virus rapidly eating into the human resource that would be growing the sector through aquaculture, the fish industry stands largely threatened.

“Our population is growing very fast. By 2018 we were anticipating to add at least another 300,000 tons to the annual production. But if 35 percent of the fisher folk are dropping off by the scourge, then the social economic ramifications are bent to be more serious.”

Sadly, according Wadanya, government stands even less chances of arresting the skyrocketing HIV/AIDS rates in fishing communities, owing to among others their demographics.

He noted that most of Uganda’s lakes are shared by other countries, (Victoria, Albert and Edward) which make fishing activity cross-boundary overly interactive. This exposes fishers to infections but also makes them unavailable for HIV testing and counselling.

“As much our ministry and all the other ministries have been directed to mainstream HIV/AIDS, implementation still remains difficult because most of the fishing communities are unreachable.”

“Life there is lived in discrete communities, scattered across the shores and only accessible by water, which makes them extremely hard to reach.”


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