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US donates HIV equipment to UPDFPublish Date: Dec 12, 2013
US donates HIV equipment to UPDF
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Brig. Gen. Dr. Ambrose Musiguzi (C) receives CD4 machines from U.S. department of defense U.S. Embassy Kampala Lt. Commander Anderson James Perez (R) as Colonel Dr. Emmanuel Shilling (L) looks on. PHOTO/Tony Rujuta.

By Innocent Anguyo

The Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) has launched a new electronic information management system that helps in tracking HIV patients across the country.

The Military Health Electronic Network System was launched Thursday at Bombo Land Forces Headquarters. The system is managed by the Directorate of HIV/AIDS.

According to Gilbert Arinaitwe, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for HIV, information on patients who visit the seventeen UPDF health facilities across Uganda will be reserved in the system and thereafter shared among health practitioners.

“This information will help doctors in the health facilities provide treatment, counseling and offer referrals to patients accordingly,” reiterated Arinaitwe.

The United States Mission in Kampala trained scores of officers in the use of the system and offered 12 netbooks to kick start the programme.

The equipment cost a total of $232,000 (about sh580m). PHOTO/Tony Rujuta

The unveiling of the information management system overlapped with donation of seven CD4 machines and five vehicles by the US mission Uganda to the UPDF HIV/AIDS Control Program.

The US Mission undertook the donation through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the support of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP). The equipment cost a total of $232,000 (about sh580m).

Dr. Juliet Akao, the HIV/AIDS Program Manager, Office of Security Cooperation at the American Embassy said the CD4 machines would help in establishing viral load in patients so that they can be enrolled on treatment early.

Brig Gen Dr. Ambrose Musinguzi of the Chieftaincy of Medical Services said the vehicles would aid UPDF in delivering quality health services such as HIV testing and counseling to far-flung troops in the shortest time possible.

Lt Solomon Kandole said the donations would boost response of UPDF to health needs of families of officers and areas adjacent to UPDF health facilities.

Four vehicles were also part of the donation. PHOTO/Tony Rujuta

Anderson James Perez, a lieutenant in the US Navy, then representing the US ambassador to Uganda, lauded the UPDF for spearheading the fight against HIV/AIDS saying the institution had become a model for the battle against the scourge.

“The US DOD and the UPDF have a longstanding partnership in the fight against HIV/AIDS. These equipment will help UPDF to reach more people and improve service delivery,” reiterated Perez.

Maj. Cassette Wamundu, the Director of HIV/AIDS commended the US government for supporting UPDF in the fight against the pandemic.
He revealed that before the US started supporting UPDF, there were plans to establish cemeteries at barracks’ because officers were succumbing to AIDS in large numbers.

According to Wamundu, the Bombo General Military Hospital receives about 2,000 clients a day at its HIV/AIDS unit. The Unit operates three days a week.

“Before the Americans started supporting us, the situation was so bad that we could only pray for our HID/AIDS patients, now we can give them care and help them live longer with dignity,” said Wamundu.

Meanwhile, Col Dr. Emmanuel Shillingi, the director Biostatistics and Research said the new patients’ information management system will aid UPDF leadership in generating factual information to make informed decisions on HIV/AIDS.

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