Ugandan lawmakers on the Health Committee say it is risky and unsustainable for donors to be the main funders of the HIV/AIDs programs in the country.
The committee noted on Friday that in June 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines on HIV treatment, whereby any person tested and found positive with CD4 count 500 or less should be immediately enrolled on Antiretroviral treatment (ART). The committee says this means more Ugandans would need to be enrolled on treatment.
This was highlighted in the committee’s report on the budget estimates for the health sector for financial year 2013/2014 tabled on the floor of parliament by Kaberamaido MP Kenneth Omona on Friday.
In the report, the committee recommended that an HIV/AIDS Trust Fund be established to take care of the financial needs for the country’s HIV/AIDS strategic plans and programs. The committee also encouraged Universal HIV testing.
The committee also recommended that government should ensure there is adequate availability of condoms in the country.
Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga noted that there is a dire need for government to provide condoms to reduce the transmission of HIV. He suggested that all government organizations, hotels in the country, universities, and schools among others are constantly provided with condoms.
Kaberamaido Woman MP Ekwau Ibi Florence noted the popularization of male condoms and wondered why female condoms are not promoted. She said it is very hard to hear people lobbying for female condoms yet they are equally needed as male condoms. She wondered whether women do not require the condoms as much as men.
Besides the funding of HIV/AIDS programs, the committee also observed that most HIV positive people are also TB positive yet the TB and HIV/AIDS units operate independently.
The committee noted that government should collaborate with HIV/AIDS and TB units to establish the number of people who are both HIV/AIDS and TB positive so that the two are addressed at the same time.