The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has called for the establishment of an AIDS Trust Fund that will facilitate the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“We appealed to government to bring the law on the HIV/AIDS Fund and they ignored it. It was Parliament through the Committee of the House that presented that Bill,” Kadaga said.
The Speaker made the remarks while launching the First Annual report for the Presidential Fast-track Initiative on ending AIDS as a public health threat in Uganda by 2030 at Parliament on Monday, 18 June 2018. The initiative was launched in 2017 by President Yoweri Museveni.
Kadaga expressed disappointment that funds to cater for HIV/AIDS had not been included in the 2018/19 budget, saying that, “If the Fund is not there by the end of this financial year, I will direct that we find the money and start on pending work”.
The speaker also commended Members of Parliament for their continued campaigns in their constituencies to end HIV prevalence and asked them to engage more stakeholders especially the media.
“We shall give you a small recess period and I want you to visit fishing communities, bodaboda riders, mining communities, and schools; to speak about the issues of HIV/AIDS,” Kadaga said.
Representing the Minister of Health, the Director at the Center for Disease Control Uganda, Dr. Patrick Tumusiime, said financing and response on HIV/AIDS in the country has been majorly supported by local and international partners and called for more government support.
“We want more funding; we are in the final stages of defeating the enemy and this is the most difficult area,” Tumusiime said.
The Director General Uganda AIDS Commission, Dr. Nelson Musoba, highlighted challenges including HIV mainstreaming and inadequate funding for interventions and coordination that have hampered progress of the Presidential Fast-track Initiative.
“When we go to different sectors of Government, they still consider HIV as something for Uganda AIDS Commission and Ministry of Health. We need to publicise HIV as multi-sectoral issue,” said Dr. Musoba.
The report launched premised on the theme ‘Reaching men, girls and young women to reduce new HIV infections’.