By Godiver Asege, Pascal Kwesiga & Raymond Baguma
KAMPALA - The Uganda AIDS Commission has established a committee that will scrutinize and clear all anti-HIV/AIDS campaign messages before they are disseminated to the public.
The 18-member committee is headed by Noeline Kaleeba, the founder of TASO.
Other members include Dr. Elizabeth Madraa, Robert Mwesigwa, Erik Friedly, Daudi Ochieng, Robinah Ssempebwa, and Pius Mwinganisa.
Also on the committee are; Sam Enginyu, Beatrice Bisangwa, James Yesiga, Stella Kentutsi, Paul Mukasa, Majorie Kyomuhendo, Patrick Muinda, Edward Mugyimba, Gloria Nantulya, Ssubi Kiwanuka, Agnes Biribonwa and Dr. Chris Oleke.
Dr. Christine Ondoa, the director general for Uganda AIDS Commission, said accurate messaging is important if Ugandans are to make informed decisions in combating HIV/AIDS.
However, some messages are full of inaccuracies and have ended up confusing the public.
“The consistent dissemination of clear and factual HIV-prevention messages to our population over a sustained period of time reinforces and supports the choices individuals make towards HIV prevention and treatment,” said Dr. Ondoa.
She said that the message-clearing committee was set up to ensure that simple, clear, and accurate messages are passed on to Ugandans in line with set HIV/AIDS prevention strategies and policies.
The committee will scrutinize and clear all anti-HIV/AIDS campaign messages. PHOTO/Ronnie Kijjambu
There is notable evidence of declining rate of HIV infections, she said, with 137,000 infections having occurred last year (2013), an indication of a decline from 160,000 infections reported in 2011.
“Notably, the number of new born babies testing HIV positive reduced drastically from 28,000 babies born with HIV in 2011 to about 8,000 babies in 2013.”
Prof. Vinand Nantulya, the Uganda AIDS Commission board chairman said: “We would like to continue with this downward trend but people need the correct information to know what to do.”
Frank Tumwebaze, the minister for the presidency, in his speech read by ethics minister Fr. Simon Lokodo was impressed.
He said: “These results are impressive. We should not relent in our efforts. We must continue to intensify our interventions against the HIV epidemic. We did it in the early 1990s, we can do it again.”