The AIDS Support Organisation-TASO has denied claims that it plans to close down due to financial constraints.
Media reports yesterday claimed that a number of aid agencies had withdrawn funding to the organization and that several staff had resigned. The report of the closure allegedly originated from parliament where legislators were worried that the closure would affect thousands of people who access anti-retroviral drugs from the organization.
Christine Nabiryo, the Executive Director of TASO Uganda, says the allegations of closure are wide off the mark. The Executive Director says no funding agency has suspended aid to the organisation. She says agencies like Centre for Disease Control, USAID, Irish Aid Civil Society Fund and Global Fund are still funding the activities.
Nabiryo says the organization that provides drugs to 100,000 Ugandans cannot simply close because it will leave many people helpless.
Nabiryo says the only project that closed was Orphans and Vulnerable Children programme because its five-year span ended in July. She says some of the staff attached to that programme had to leave because their contracts had also expired with the project.
Nabiryo says currently, TASO is in bidding process with USAID for more funding in other fields. Interviews and discussions are already going on with the Japanese Embassy in Kampala for setting up Masindi TASO centre.
Nabiryo also says the organization is already bidding for more funding from USAID for other projects. She has appealed to the Ugandans to register as members to support the organization so that donor dependency is reduced. Currently 95 percent of TASO programmes depend on donor funding.
TASO that has been in operation for the last 27 years currently runs 11 regional offices and has service centres in all the major districts in the country. It also distributes ARVs to other health facilities where they do not operate directly throughout the country.
Nabiryo says plans are under way to enroll more people on the ARV programme as they continue to solicit for more funding from other sources.