Uganda spends Shs980 billion in caring for people living with HIV annually, according to the Uganda AIDS Commission.
Dr. Nelson Musoba, Director General of the Uganda AIDS Commission says that out of the total shillings 700,000 is used to care for each victim per year in form of buying drugs and monitoring to make sure that the (drugs) are effectively used.
Musoba says that so far, 1.4 million people in Uganda are living with HIV. Out of these about 1.30 are on drugs. Musoba attributes the high prevalence to poverty among the people.
Geoffrey Kyomukama, Rukungiri District LC5 Chairman says that as of June 30 this year, Rukungiri district had 180,000 people living with HIV and all on drugs. Out of these, 63 percent are females and 37 percent are males.
Ten percent of the victims are below 24 years. Kyomukama used the same platform to ask President Yoweri Museveni to honor the promise of establishing a government hospital in Rukungiri district. According to Kyomukama, locals face serious disturbances while transferring patients to other districts.
In his speech as the chief guest during World AIDS Day national celebrations at Rukungiri Municipal Stadium in Rukungir district on Thursday, President Yoweri Museveni called for vigilance among members of the public to avoid contracting HIV.
Museveni says that people still contract HIV per year in Uganda while 17,000 die per year. Museveni also says that Kalangala district leads in HIV cases in Uganda with 16 people out of 100 test positive.
Other leading districts with high prevalence rates are Kyotera, Kabarore, Masaka, Gulu, Kalungu, Mbarara, Lira, Bushenyi, Wakiso, Kiruhura, Lyantonde, and Rukungiri.
Maracha district is the best with 1 person out of 100 test positive.
Other districts with the fewer cases of prevalence include; Bududa, Kibuku, Namisindwa, Amudat, Nakpiripirit, Terego, Napaka, Palisa, Kotido, Karenga, and Kabong.
Museveni used the same platform to tank the electorates of Rukungiri for denouncing opposition and voted for National Resistance Movement (NRM) party leaders in the 2021 general elections.
He also used the same platform to order leaders in Ntungamo and Sheema districts to remove all encroachers in Rusindura, Rwamabondo, and Kajara wetlands. He also asked other encroachers across the country to vacate the wetlands before they are forcefully evicted.
He also promised to honor the unfulfilled pledges, there are still other projects to work on across the country.
Speaker Calls For More Funding
In a related development, Speaker Anita Among has called for financial support to the health sector in order to avoid the scenario of donors taking over the interests of Uganda because of the limited funding to the health sector.
The Speaker made the call during the plenary sitting where she called on lawmakers to support institutions that help in ensuring that HIV/AIDs is reduced or people who have AIDs are treated by ensuring that all the funding required in combating HIV/AIDs is availed.
She said, “When you look at budgets for those institutions, 80% of their budgets come from donor funds. And if 80% comes from donor funds, as Ugandans what are we doing? And if you leave everything in the hands of the donors and these donors most of them are from Europe that is when they ask you to abide by their condition. We will not abide by their condition in the name of donation, let us provide money by ourselves rather than getting money with their conditions.”
John Baptist Nambeshe (Chief Opposition Whip) called on the Ministry of Health to expedite the use of ARV injectables among HIV/AIDs patients and said this should be complemented with increased financing to the health sector.
He said, “It isn’t that the budget committee is to blame, for the last three consecutive Financial years, the budget committee has been allocating Shs25Bn, but it is really unfortunate that the Ministry of Finance that they have only been attempting to release Shs15Bn which is below the water mark.”
However, Margaret Muhanga, State Minister for Primary Health Care denied claims that donors are about to hijack Uganda with their funds remarking, “The donors or partners that we work with attend all our meetings and work within our work plan. No one goes to do whatever they want in this country because they don’t have structures. They are also cognizant of the fact that we are a sovereign state, they aren’t taking over this country, no, we are working with them.”
The Speaker however fired back remarking, “They are taking over in terms of financing, if they are financing 80% and we are financing 20%, they are taking over financially, let us call a spade a spade.”
The development comes at the time new report from the Unites States of America indicated that the nation’s taxpayers injected USD953Million approximately Shs3.404Trn into Uganda’s economy.
Uganda’s health sector was the biggest beneficiary of the funds receiving over $517Million about Shs1.48Trn in 2020, while $60Million approximately Shs214.503Bn went to Support for economic growth, especially in agriculture and $13Million nearly Shs46.475Bn went towards promotion of justice and democracy in support of a more inclusive, empowered, and literate society.