By Umaru Kashaka
The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has been overstrained in providing health services in the city because of the influx of people from the far-flung areas of the country, the KCCA Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi, has said.
She made the remarks while opening the KCCA implementing partners’ meeting in the Mayor’s Parlor at City Hall.
Musisi said although the Authority is mandated with provision of services that enable residents and businesses operating in the city function in an environment that supports development, the influx has proved to be a big challenge in KCCA's fight against HIV/AIDS.
“The flux of people from other areas like Mbarara and Mityana in the city is a challenge to us. We have been overstretched by people who need our health services like HIV patients,” Musisi told a gathering that included officials from AIDS Information Centre-Uganda and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
She noted that the gains made in previous years are fast getting eroded by the increasing number of new HIV infections especially among slum dwellers like Boda Boda cyclists and fishermen because people had become lax following reports of low prevalence HIV rates.
“We can’t afford to relax over the fight against HIV. We need to step up efforts to tackle the fast rising cases of the infections through better coordination, harmonization and alignment with the partners,” she stated.
Musisi said the estimated number of people effected with HIV in the city total to 175,000 representing 9.8%.
The acting director of public health and environment at KCCA Dr. Daniel Okello said they are still facing weaknesses in data collection like lack of printed and updated Health Management Information System (HMIS) registers that match the revised HMIS reporting tools.
“There is staffing gaps in private health facilities translating into increased workload and capacity for data management especially skills among health facility staffs are causing weakness in data collection,” Okello added.
Dr. John Mugisha, the country coordinator of the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal leaders on HIV/AIDS in Africa (AMICAALL), said there was a need for the government to prioritize cities and urban centers in allocating resources in order to address such problems.
“Although Kampala city faces health challenges associated with any developing city, we need to prioritize cities and urban centers. These areas are usually overcrowded and some people are poor and can’t access health services,” he said.
The Program Analyst HIV/Health Development at UNDP, Sarah Nakku noted that as development partners they need to take the HIV fight to the deprived communities if the epidemic is to be controlled.
“Its good KCCA is working with us, but it needs to take ownership of HIV response so that we make a break through by targeting those in slums and other fishing areas,” Nakku told New Vision.
According to the 2011 National HIV Indicator Survey, the prevalence rates among Ugandans between the ages of 15 to 19 are going up. It now stands at 7.3% and higher in women at 8.3% up from 6.4% in the 2004-2005 survey.
The number of new infections has risen from 124,000 in 2009 to 128,000 in 2010 and approximately 145,000 in 2011.
The main forms of infection remain unprotected sex and from pregnant HIV positive mothers to their babies.
Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, the Director General Uganda Aids Commission, told the media recently that if new infections continue to rise, the HIV burden is projected to increase by more than 700,000 over the next five years.
He said about 25,000 babies will be born with the infection each year.
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