US Approves AIDS Money
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The Monitor (Kampala)
August 11, 2003
Posted to the web August 11, 2003
Uganda has received $7 million to help prevent mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/Aids.
"The money is for an 18 months period," , the USAID HIV/Aids Advisor, Ms Elese Ayers revealed recently. "It will be used for strengthening central level activities which offer PMTCT in districts."
Ayers told the national PMTCT workshop and inter-site co-ordination meeting recently that the US government approved the money last month.
She said USAID would administer the funds together with the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC).
She said 100 new sites would be established by the end of year.
"The funds will be for renovation, laboratories, equipment, support staff, delivery of commodities and community linkages.
USAID and CDC will work in districts through their programmes such as AIM, UPHOLD and AIDS MARK.
Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Director General of Medical Services in the Health ministry, said there was a huge gap between what had been expressed and what actually happens in communities.
"We have done enough with writing documents with nothing happening in people's homes," he said.
He said attendance of HIV-positive mothers at PMTCT sites in districts would be increased only if the LC I established a health committee to register every pregnant mother.
"This is the system you are going to use and use it in its entirety if we are going to get a scale up programme in Uganda for PMTCT," he advised.
The Unicef deputy country representative, Dr. Pirkkon Heinonen, said what the PMTCT programme has planned is far below what is actually implemented.
She said the programme plans to reduce the transmission from mothers to children by 50 percent by 2005, but by end of 2002, it was only 10 percent.
"We are far below what we have committed to do," she said.
"We should scale up faster than we are talking today. We need to have at least two sites per district because heavy pregnant mothers cannot walk to the one centre."
She noted that there is a challenge of ensuring that the children abide by the ARVs.
"How do you ensure that a three-year or five-year old does take their medicine, when adults cannot?" she said.
But she noted that inspite of the reservations, children were entitled to health care.