By Francis Emorut
Uganda has made significant strides in enrolling more persons living with HIV/AIDS on anti-retrovirus (ARVs) treatment compared to newly infected persons
This was revealed by the senior advisor, social service delivery cluster at Irish Aid, Mary Oduka-Ochan.
She was addressing participants during the Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organizations (UNASO) annual general meeting at Uganda Manufacturers Association conference hall in Kampala on Friday.
Ochan said 77% of those infected with HIV/AIDS are now accessing ARV treatment and the number has increased to 566,046 by the end of June 2013 from 329,060 in September 2011.
Citing Uganda Demographic Health Survey of 2012, Ochan pointed out that 140,000 people became newly infected with HIV of which 15,000 were babies born with HIV.
She noted that the increase of enrolment of patients living with HIV/AIDS is not a mean achievement compared to the newly infected ones.
“For the first time we had more people enrolled on ARV treatment than the number of new infections in the year. Thus reaching a tilting point in the response,” Ochan said.
She however, observed that concerted efforts is required by all stakeholders to combat the disease if the country is to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the incidences by 30% in 2015.
She pointed out that HIV/AIDS remains a significant development problem for Uganda after prevalence rate increased to 7.3% from 6.4% in 2005.
“This should serve as an immediate call for concerted action by all stakeholders to fight the disease,” she said.
Ochan advised HIV/AIDS activists to be innovative on how to general funds to support their activities rather than relying on donor money.
“I call upon civil society organizations to become innovative in trying to mobilise their own resources locally,” she stated.
She also implored activists to be transparent and accountable for the resources entrusted to them in managing HIV/AIDS activities.
Ochan was backed by the chairman of UNASO Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga who urged civil society organizations to be transparent in handling resources given by donors.
“You should observe the principles of transparency and accountability in order to receive more funds from our development partners,” Byaruhanga said.
The UNASO executive director, Braham Namanya informed participants that the organization will build capacity of district networks to combat the disease and to ensure that service delivery in health care for HIV/AIDS patients is effective and efficient.
The former MP of Ayivu county, Dick Nyai appealed to organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS to incorporate ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful and use Condoms) strategy +Safe male circumcision to combat the disease.