The Uganda Episcopal Conference has launched a $6.36m (about sh14b) project to improve services to people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS countrywide.
By Jeff Andrew Lule
The Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) has launched a $6.36m (about sh14b) project to improve services to people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS countrywide.
The Aids Care and Treatment (ACT) program which was launched at St. Augustine Institute Nsambya on Monday is to run for one year.
The program coordinator, Dr. Henry Mwesezi said the project targets 12 Catholic-founded health facilities across 11 districts across the country.
The program will be implemented in Kalongo hospital (Agago), St Mary's Hospital Lacor (Gulu), Pope Paul Memorial hospital Aber (Oyam), St. Joseph's Hospital (Kitgum), St. Rapheal of St. Francis Nyambya and Kamwokya Christian Caring Community (Kampala).
Others are St. Francis Hospital Nyenga (Buikwe)., Nkozi Hospital (Mpigi), Villa Maria hospital (Kalungu), St. Daniel Hospital Comboni Kyamuhunga (Bushenyi), Kasanga Primary Health Centre (Kasese) and Holy Family Virika Hospital (Kabarole).
The US government-funded program through the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) intends to provide high quality accessible HIV services in a strengthened and integrated health care system.
"We want all the 12 health care facilities to provide quality HIV prevention services that promote and safe guard the health of targeted communities," Mwesezi said.
Testing and treatment services
The chairman of the UEC, Archbishop John Baptist Odama said the program is to maintain 22,656 patients on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) and enroll over 5,500 new patients on ART in one year.
They also intent to test 34, 000 pregnant women for HIV and provide PMTC services to 2,121 to HIV positive pregnant women. About 4,000 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) will also be supported in its first year of operation.
Odama, also the Archbishop of Gulu Diocese, said the program will expand critical and innovative HIV services through the various health facilities by investing in health workforce training and retention, mobilizing community-level factors for peer education and improving infrastructure, among others.
The cleric explained that in line with the transition vision of both the governments of Uganda and the US, the catholic health care network in Uganda is committed to doing more with less resources.
He thanked both the US government for the support that has enabled to save thousands of people, and the ministry of health for its technical guidance and leadership in the provision of health services.
Odama thanked the Aids Relief, a consortium of international organizations under the leadership of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) who have managed the program over the past eight years.
He said the UEC intends to “build on their legacy of provision of quality services to people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.”
The country director of CDC, Dr. Wuhib Tadesse said they are committed to continue supporting Uganda to end the HIV pandemic and promoting better health facilities.
Tadesse said CDC-Uganda currently has a budget of $140m of which 94% of is provided to partners. He stressed that the group was proud that all their implementing partners are indigenous Ugandan institutions.
The director said the centre has so far injected close to $1b in the health sector to improve the health of Ugandans since 1991.
CDC supports programs in HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, polio, measles, influenza, plague, Ebola, Marburg virus, and yellow fever.
It also caters for comprehensive prevention, care and treatment programs in 265 health facilities in 54 districts providing ART to 168,000 adults and children; care for 404,000 adults and children and in 2011 alone, counseling and testing to 1.1 million individuals, and PMTCT services to 671,000 pregnant women.
Besides CDC is a key implementing agency of the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) since its launch in 2006.
US injects sh14b in Catholic Church HIV/AIDS project