New Director General Starts Work at Uganda AIDS Commission
Dr. Christine Ondoa is the new Director General of Uganda AIDS Commission. She commenced her duties on the 27th of February, 2014 following her appointment to this office by the President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Dr. Ondoa brings with her a rich academic background plus a wealth of experience in medicine, health, policy design and implementation, public health service delivery, program administration and management, in addition to advocacy and leadership skills. She replaces Dr. David Kihumuro Apuuli who served as Director General of Uganda AIDS Commission since 1999. Prior to Dr. Kihumuro, was the Late Honorable Omwony Ojwok.
Uganda’s First Lady Concludes EMTCT Campaign in Kampala and Tests for HIV
The First Lady, Mrs. Janet Museveni, concluded the campaign to eliminate the transmission of HIV to unborn babies in Kampala on February 28. This included a consultative meeting of major stakeholders held at State House, Nakasero, plus a public rally. The public rally took place in Kololo Independence Grounds and featured key artists with HIV prevention oriented songs. Similarly, HIV counseling and testing services were availed. The First Lady, publicly tested for HIV, as well as key personalities such as Her Excellency, Dr. Specioza Wandira, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, plus Mayors, Members of Parliament among others. The next EMTCT Campaign is scheduled for the West Nile region, mid April.
Uganda receives HIV Grant from CIDA
Uganda received a grant of approximately USD75,000 to implement HIV and AIDS interventions in border districts for the next four months. The grant is from the Canadian governments and is channeled through the World Bank under the Inter Governmental Authority on Development- IGAD Program. The grant will boost national HIV interventions and will promote HIV prevention, care and treatment in mostly mobile populations of Busia, Malaba, Bibia bordering S.Sudan and Oraba, boarder districts. The grant is released on a quarterly basis to the Government of Uganda.
Uganda AIDS Commission Concludes Supervision of HIV/AIDS Activities
The AIDS Commission is ensuring that all HIV/AIDS activities country-wide are implemented by local governments and partners as stipulated in the National HIV Strategic Plan. In the first phase, teams were sent to half the country, to access the performance of HIV/AIDS activities in each district. The teams interacted with district officials, implementing partners, and all key stakeholders, and subsequently prepared reports stipulating their findings and recommendations. The second phase of this exercise is due to follow, and will cover the remaining districts before June, 2014.
Final Dissemination of HIV Prevention Messages to Remaining Districts
In February and early March, the Uganda AIDS Commission held additional district meetings with key leaders of three districts earlier not reached, namely Kamuli, Jinja and Lyantonde. These meetings aimed to equip leaders to share the HIV prevention message with their communities. To date, leaders from the entire country have been reached with the HIV message.
Religious leaders in Teso and Kampala equipped with the HIV Prevention Message
The Interreligious Council of Uganda (IRCU) and Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) shared the HIV Prevention message with key religious leaders in a two day sessionheld in Teso and Kampala in February 2014. During these sessions, the Pastoral Letter on HIV/AIDS was launched. UAC’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Prof. Vinand Nantulya briefed leaders on critical HIV/AIDS issues. He appealed to religious leaders to share the message with their respective congregations.
HIV Message Clearing House in Action
The HIV/AIDS Messages Clearance and Harmonization Committee had a productive year since its inception in May 2013. So far the committee has held eight meetings and cleared several messages. As a result, clear, simple and factual HIV messages are being disseminated across the country – the most prominent being the President’s statement on HIV and testing. Some of the messages cleared are for the EMTCT Campaign, Kampala City HIV Prevention Campaign, UNFPA Condom campaign, BAILOR Uganda National HIV campaign, UGANET HIV Prevention campaign, UHMG HIV messages, UNICEF’s World AIDS Day message, UNFPA/Office of the First Lady’s HCT/EMTCT message, among others. The committee is chaired by Dr. Noerine Kaleeba, Founder of TASO, and has 18 members drawn from the Ministry of Health, other government ministries, Persons living with HIV, Religious institutions, development partners, communication experts, Uganda AIDS Commission, etc.
Global AIDS Country Progress Report 2012-2013 in Final Stages
A progress report which highlights the achievements Uganda has registered in implementing HIV/AIDS programs in the country is in its final stages. The Country Progress report aims to review gains made in the past two years (2012-2013) to reduce new HIV infections and eliminate AIDS related deaths. Uganda is a signatory to the UNAIDS 2011 political declaration on HIV/AIDS. It is therefore mandated through Uganda AIDS Commission to compile a progress report every two years.
EMTCT Campaign Starts in West Nile Region
EMTCT West Nile campaign has started till mid April 2014. HIV services will be provided to residents in the build up to the public rally which will be addressed by the Champion, Janet Museveni. The campaign is organized by the Office of the First Lady, Ministry of Health, Uganda AIDS Commission, BAYLOR Uganda, and several partners. The Campaign aims to increase HIV counseling and testing among Ugandans especially pregnant mothers, in order to ensure that children are born HIV free.
Upcoming Activities and Events
Dissemination of guidelines for setting up District AIDS Structures
UAC is to disseminate printed guidelines to all local governments to facilitate the creation of HIV/AIDS coordination structures at the decentralized levels. The guidelines define approved district structures, composition and roles of key HIV/AID personnel.
Regional Media Meetings: April 2014, Venue: North West Nile, West and Eastern Uganda
Convener: Uganda AIDS Commission
Aim: To disseminate the HIV prevention message to media to effectively relay clear and correct HIV messages to target audiences.
Please take note of the following additional upcoming events, details will be available soon:
· Global fund application process spearheaded by Uganda’s Country Coordination Mechanism Secretariat
· Meeting of cultural institution scheduled in the kingdoms of Busoga, Toro, Bugisu and Buganda
· A meeting for the National HIV/AIDS Prevention Committee is scheduled for the last week of March
· A study will be conducted to establish the mode of transmission of HIV
· The National Prevention Strategy 2011/2015 is due to be reviewed
· The validation of, and dissemination of estimates and profiles of populations with the highest risk of HIV infection known as MARPS is due to be completed.
· International Candlelight Memorial day is slated for May 2014. Uganda’s event will be marked in Pallisa District.
· Uganda AIDS Commission is planning a Pre-International AIDS Conference for stakeholders to share what they will present during the Australia meeting, due June 2014
· A Stakeholders meeting to disseminate the results from a study related to treatment for Prevention will be convened by the Ministry of Health, Uganda AIDS Commission and Uganda Virus Research Institution in April 2014