By Pascal Kwesiga
The US Government has contracted an American firm to implement HIV/AIDS programs in Uganda after terminating its partnership with the Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) for backing the anti-gay law.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) mission director in Uganda, Leslie Reed, revealed that Cardno Emerging Markets, a US infrastructure and environment services company, will deliver HIV/AIDS services under the new USAID/Uganda private sector support program.
She also said US would continue funding HIV/AIDS activities in Uganda and that USAID funded services would be available to all people regardless of their sexual orientation.
Under the program, US will channel funding to health facilities and organizations that offer HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment services and support to vulnerable children through Cardno Emerging Markets with effect from August 1.
The US mission information officer in Uganda, Erin Truhler, said US is diverting funding away from program partners whose “actions suggested that they were not committed to affording equal access to all persons in need”
The US has been channeling funding to health facilities and organizations that offer HIV/AIDS services through IRCU. Erin told New Vision that health facilities and HIV/AIDS organizations will continue to deliver the services under the auspices of IRCU until the end of this month.
IRCU has been channeling the HIV/AIDS funds from USAID into 19 health facilities and 82 faith based organizations under the scaling-up comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment program through the faith based network.
“The same services are now under a program called the USAID/Uganda private sector support program,” Erin said.
IRCU was receiving close to $10m for anti-retroviral drugs, HIVprevention and care services for AIDS patients, orphans and vulnerable children annually.
Erin said USAID’s total assistance to Uganda in 2013 is estimated at $319m including about $247.2m for education and health care programs. The US government’s total aid to Uganda, Erin, added is about $723m annually.
“An estimated 18 million people benefit from USAID funded services. The US government spends over $323 million annually on HIV/AIDS-related programs in Uganda,” Erin added.
Cardno Emerging Markets is already implementing a $40m USAID funded five year program dubbed strengthening decentralization for sustainability in Uganda.
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