National
Ugandan army winning hearts, minds and foreskins
Publish Date: Feb 05, 2014
Ugandan army winning hearts, minds and foreskins
UPDF soldiers cleaning Nansana town in Wakiso as part of acctivities to mark the Army week ahead of Tarehe Sita celebrations on Thursday. PHOTO/ Mary Kansiime
  • mail
  • img
newvision

Ugandan troops have been marking national army week celebrations with a public health drive that includes distributing condoms and circumcising men as part of efforts to battle AIDS.

"There are several activities that we are doing. Among them is medical outreach. The UPDF (Uganda People's Defence Force) is a unique army. It is unique is many respects," army spokesman Paddy Ankunda said on Tuesday.

"Circumcision is a proven method to reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS and we think that by doing that our people will reduce the risk of infection," he told AFP, adding that army doctors have in recent days carried out 330 circumcisions, 630 HIV tests and distributed 43,500 condoms.
UPDF soldiers cleaning Nansana town in Wakiso as part of acctivities to mark the Army week ahead of Tarehe Sita celebrations on Thursday. PHOTO/ Mary Kansiime


Scientists have found that male circumcision can significantly reduce the chances of HIV infection because the foreskin has a higher concentration of HIV-receptors than the rest of the penis and is prone to tears during intercourse, providing for a HIV entry point.

"We are taking care of the entire procedure. We have installed ourselves in already existing health centres and constructed appropriate facilities," Ankunda said.

"But that is just one activity. We are distributing mosquito nets, we are treating malaria, treating eye infections, dental complications, all sorts of things," he added.

Ugandan army week leads up to the February 6 anniversary of a 1981 attack against an army barracks by rebel forces fighting then-president Apolo Milton Obote, which heralded the start of a war that ended in 1986 with current President Yoweri Museveni taking office.

Each year the army marks the anniversary with public service activities in designated areas of the country. This year operations are taking place in the west of the country, although Ankunda said Ugandan troops across the country and those based in South Sudan and Somalia were also active.

"We do so many things. We do medical outreach, we work with other agencies, we redo roads that are broken in the countryside of the region we select. We do mobilisation for the people against disease and poverty," he said.

Uganda was once heralded as a success story in the fight against HIV, with Museveni among the first African leaders to speak openly about AIDS and the government mounting a highly successful public awareness campaign in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Infection rates initially dropped from double to single digits, but according to the most recent statistics, from 2011, the national prevalence rate rose to 7.3 percent from 6.4 percent in 2004-05 -- with health officials blaming increased complacency. AFP

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Museveni hails Uganda-North Korea ties
President Yoweri Museveni describes the North Koreans as friends who have helped Uganda for a long time on visit of one of its leaders....
Slain Unilever boss mourned
SPEAKER after speaker described Makanga as a smart, classy, humble, respectful, joyful, hardworking man who worked to see that also others get to enjoy the good life...
Muntu warns Mafabi, Nabila over media exchanges
ACCORDING to John Kikonyogo, the party spokesperson, Muntu said discussing the issues in the media was affecting the image of the party...
Gov
The minister in charge says the move will enable legal refugees seek study, business and medical opportunities abroad....
South African deputy president Ramaphosa here for talks on South Sudan
South African deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa is in Uganda for consultations on the South Sudanese peace process with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni....
Uganda grapples with access to drugs for Non Communicable Diseases
Moses Kafeero, 24, is a resident of Kasensero in Rakai district. He weighs 112 kilograms.Kafero is one of the thousands of Ugandans suffering from Non Communicable diseases. Kafeero just like others is not aware that one of the risk factors associated with high blood pressure and diabetes is obesit...
Should the absence of bride price prevent couples from wedding?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter