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Cultural, religious leaders told to join AIDS fight

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd December 2009 03:00 AM

THE Government is to launch a partnership with cultural leaders to help promote the fight against HIV/AIDS among Ugandans, the secretary general of the Uganda Aids Commission, has said.

THE Government is to launch a partnership with cultural leaders to help promote the fight against HIV/AIDS among Ugandans, the secretary general of the Uganda Aids Commission, has said.

By Pascal Kwesiga

THE Government is to launch a partnership with cultural leaders to help promote the fight against HIV/AIDS among Ugandans, the secretary general of the Uganda Aids Commission, has said.

Dr. Kihumuro Apuuli and officials from the Ministry of Health met the Omukama of Bunyoro, Solomon Iguru, at Karuzika palace in Hoima town on Friday.

This was part of the Government’s programme to engage traditional leaders in promoting the campaign against the AIDS scourge.

Kihumuro told Iguru that the Government wants to use traditional institutions and the church to fight the scourge since the institutions are closer to the people.

“We have come to tell you that the Government wants to form a strong movement with cultural leaders to help us eradicate AIDS since people listen to you more than politicians,” Kihumuro said.

He asked Iguru to use his position as chairperson of the cultural forum in Uganda to convey the message to other cultural leaders.

Kihumuro said the Government wants cultural institutions to encourage people to embrace voluntary counseling and testing for AIDS, saying out of 100 people, only 21% know their HIV status.

Iguru said they would use their forum, which brings together 14 traditional leaders, to promote the fight against AIDS.

“We are united and have several clan leaders who can be asked to take the role of spreading the message about AIDS in our areas,” he said.

The United Nations AIDS country coordinator, Dr Musa Bungudu, said the Government’s decision to engage traditional institutions was timely in ensuring the success of the campaign against the disease.

“Many people don’t listen to radios but to traditional leaders. I urge you to use those mechanisms and let many people get tested,” he said.

The prime minister of Lango, Obote Okello, said their county chiefs would engage in vigorous campaigns against AIDS as long as there is funding from the Government. He asked parents to educate their children on the dangers of of AIDS.

Cultural, religious leaders told to join AIDS fight

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