By David Lumu
The First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni is to take an HIV test today at a massive rally to mark the district and regional sensitization exercise on the prevention of mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission at Kololo Airstrip Independence grounds.
Her husband, President Yoweri Museveni last year took a similar test for the same purpose.
Speaking at the stakeholder’s consultative meeting at State House, Nakasero, Mrs. Museveni who is also the champion of the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission [PMTCT] of HIV, said that she has discovered during her tours across the country that there is a need to integrate PMTCT services within the existing mother and child health services at district level.
Doing so, she added would offer a comprehensive package of services at the public health centers across the country.
Mrs. Museveni also said that the Ministry of Health should train a workforce to provide a conducive environment for provision of services to HIV mothers and exposed babies.
She, however, observed that provision of these services demands that the infrastructure, equipment, drugs and other medical supplies required are available at the health centres.
“National Medial Stores and its district users must work out a mechanism for ensuring that those items [equipment, drugs and other medical supplies] are in place where the HIV positive mother and the exposed baby need to use them,” she said.
The First Lady, who is also the Minister for Karamoja Affairs called on stakeholders to invest in maternity services—ante-natal care, delivery, post-natal care, and laboratory infrastructure and also beef up community support structures, especially the building of waiting structures near health centers for expectant mothers.
“We must invest heavily in maternal health services. Waiting places close to health facilities should be provided for mothers. We still witness pockets of stigma and discrimination at family and community levels which, if unattended to, may pose a potential setback to our collective efforts,” she said.
During the discussions at Nakasero, Dr. Daniel Okello urged the stakeholders to engage the private sector and use opportunities such as music shows and football games and places of worship to propel the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.