The prevalence of STIs in the district stands at 6.2% among females while among men, it stands at 3.8%
The increasing burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young people in Mukono district is worrying local leaders.
They want government to intervene by including STI drugs on the list of essential medical kits for their health centres.
According to the district’s population data, the young people aged 10-24 years make up 35% (213,638 people). But the burden of HIV/AIDS and STIs among this age group is very high.
The prevalence of STIs in the district stands at 6.2% among females while among men, it stands at 3.8%, while the HIV/AIDS prevalence stands at 9% among young females while in males, it is at 4.4%.
This was revealed by the assistant district health officer, Isaac Ddumba during a dialogue on sexual and reproductive health rights for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) held at Mukono headquarters.
The meeting attended by the young people living with HIV/AIDS, district leaders, and SRHR service providers was organized by International Community of Women living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA)
Ddumba said the commonest STIs include; gonorrhoea, candida, and Trichomoniasis, adding that if not well-treated, they can lead to long-term health problems among men and women.
Ddumba explained that for STIs like Trichomoniasis if not well treated, can lead to fallopian tube inflammation which can lead to scarring/ blocked fallopian tubes thus leading to barrenness among women, while among men, it can cause infections in the urethra or prostate gland, as well as reoccurrence of the symptoms or re-infecting the partner.
On the other hand, untreated gonorrhoea, the infection can be passed on from a pregnant mother to her baby, and this can lead to permanent blindness in a new-born baby.
Ddumba explained that according to the push and pull system of ordering for drugs from National Medical Stores (NMS), it is only health facilities at level 4 and above who pull or order for drugs according to demand or needs or needs by-monthly basis.
While health facility 3s and 2s use the modified push-system where they are given commodities according to the essential medical kit which is revised after a year.
“Most health centres in Mukono district use the latter, where STI drugs are not much considered to be on demand in the clinical guidelines with the essential medical kits. Mukono needs to be given priority and provided with drugs to address the worrying burden of STIs among young people,” he said.
“90% of these infections are caused by bacteria, we have been using antibiotics, but they are not very effective, we are having many causes of reinfections, we need NMS to supply us more with STI drugs,” he added.
Ddumba said most of the affected age groups live in rural areas, and it is hard to access health centre 4s or referral hospitals due to long distances.
Mukono has 15 health centres 3s, one hospital, three health centre 4s and the rest are health centre 2s.
Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO), Jonathan Hosea Mukose, noted that if Mukono is to be part of the President’s initiative to end HIV/AIDS by 2030, unavailability of commodities like Anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) and STI drugs like Cefixime must be addressed.
Mukose advised partners in the HIV/AIDs struggle in the district to also target men, adding that they are fuelling the spread of the disease since most of them do not want to test, yet some of them have more than one sexual partner.
The Mukono district local government secretary health, gender and security, Samalie Musenero said there are some pastors especially in Pentecostal churches lying to HIV/AIDS patients that they are healed and the patients stop taking medication.
“I have buried many HIV/AIDS patients who stopped taking their medication because they were told by some pastors that they were healed. We ask government to investigate such churches and punish the culprits,” Musenero said.
Martha Akello, the communications officer of the organization said the meeting was organized among other objectives to create awareness on the realities of AGYW as they access sexual and reproductive health services in facilities around Mukono.