By Dismus Buregyeya
THE deputy Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mark Meassick has expressed concern over the high HIV/AIDS prevalence in the police force.
He said the 11.5% HIV/AIDS prevalence in the Police force is high compared to the 7.3% average national prevalence.
"We need to step up the fight against HIV/AIDS prevalence among the military and police, we need them to ensure law and order, they are always there to protect us, they even risk their lives serving the nation," he said.
He said it was sad that over a million Ugandans are infected with HIV/AIDS despite the preventive interventions.
"The war on HIV/AIDS is still far from over. All stakeholders should scale up the efforts to stop new infections," he said.
He made the remarks during the commissioning of the newly rehabilitated Uganda Police health centre in Masaka. The centre which handles 2500 clients in Kimaanya-Kyabakuza division per month was rehabilitated by USAID.
Meassick said the police should ensure that the newly recruited cops who are HIV negative are protected against the scourge. He said the nation needs health police personnel to serve efficiently.
He said USAID embarked on safe male circumcision, access to ARV drugs, TB treatment and condom use promotion in the 14 health units under the Police and Prison institutions.
The Masaka RDC, Lenos Ngompek advised government to actively promote use of female condoms saying condom use was on the decline.
"The men no longer want to use condoms, we should encourage our women to wear female condoms to save lives," he said.
He said HIV/AIDS is spreading fast among the married couples where condom use is not common yet adultery incidents are high.
Ngompek said the public must save the government the cost burden of ARV drugs provision for the victims. He asked parents to guard the girl child generation saying they are most prone to HIV/AIDS.
The Masaka District Health Officer, Dr Stuart Musisi said Masaka Municipal Council division health units should be elevated from health entre 2s to 3s so as to decongest Masaka Regional Referral hospital.
He advised the Police health centre to use the CD4 count machine at Masaka Hospital. A CD4 count machine measures a patient's viral load which helps in determining the kind of treatment.
Meanwhile, the Police health centre medical officer, Musa Muwonge said the maternity wing was in a sorry state, which was a turn off for mothers.