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
WHO eyes mass Ebola vaccines by mid-2015
Hundreds of thousands of Ebola vaccine doses could be rolled out to west Africa by the middle of 2015, the World Health Organization said Friday, after new cases of the virus were reported in New York and Mali....
KCCA demolishes structures in Wandegeya
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has demolished several illegal structures in Wandegeya in an operation which lasted for close to five hours....
Army chief urges youth on hard work
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Katumba Wamala, has cautioned the youth against impatience urging them to devote their energies to productive activities. He said most youth spend time watching movies which have given them an illusion of a rather glamorous life...
Rakai launches campaign against teenage pregnancies
Rakai district has partnered with local charities to end child marriages. This follows reports of an increase in the rate of school dropout among girls.According to the Abubeker Lutaya, the Rakai district schools’ inspector, child marriages have contributed to girl child school dropout...
US Embassy empowers Kampala youth
Sports betting and gambling are fast becoming a serious challenge to youth employment in Kampala City since majority of losers in betting resort to crime including robbing and hitting people with iron bars....
‘Jamwa did not cause any financial loss to NSSF’
City lawyer Fred Mpanga has asked the Court of Appeal to acquit former NSSF managing director David Chandi Jamwa of abuse of office and causing financial loss....
Should diplomatic passports issued to ex-govt workers be with drawn?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter