Uganda AIDS Commission urged to extend outreach to local communities

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Uganda AIDS Commission urged to extend outreach to local communities
The new Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) chairperson, Dr. Ruth Senyonyi takes over office.

Minister for the Presidency, Milly Babirye Babalanda has urged the new leadership of Uganda AIDS Commission to ramp up their efforts by expanding services to grassroots levels.

She emphasized the importance of reaching communities beyond Kampala through increased engagement with regional offices

Babalanda made these remarks during the assumption of office by the new Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) chairperson, Dr. Ruth Senyonyi, who pledged to redouble efforts to combat AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, succeeding Dr. Eddie Mukoyo, who served for two terms.

Addressing the challenges confronting the Uganda AIDS Commission, Minister Babalanda stressed the necessity of intensifying efforts at the grassroots level.

"Our primary focus in the first 12 months of your tenure as chairperson must be taking the battle where it is most needed—into the villages and upcountry areas," asserted Babalanda.

She acknowledged existing issues within the commission, including challenges with team building and the presence of fraudulent NGOs.

She called for collaborative action with relevant authorities to ensure effective supervision and management of NGOs supporting AIDS efforts.

"I urge you to collaborate closely with your Director General, the Secretary Office of the President, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to ensure thorough screening of NGOs supporting AIDS efforts and to establish effective supervision and management protocols," emphasized Babalanda.

She reiterated the government's commitment to upholding the commission's reputation for transparency and urged continued vigilance against corruption.

Expressing gratitude towards the Office of the President for its steadfast support, Babalanda highlighted its crucial role in advancing the commission's objectives. She affirmed her office's unwavering commitment to defending the commission's budget proposals, noting a recent increase in funding during her tenure.

"I extend my appreciation to the staff of my office and particularly to the Secretary, Office of the President, for their support of the Institution's proposals and their guidance in its work," stated Minister Babalanda.

Dr. Senyonyi expressed readiness to build upon her predecessor’s efforts in combating the HIV/AIDS scourge, emphasizing teamwork and determination to overcome challenges such as funding and sustainability.

“ I am ready to work as a team with the group. The funding, the sustainability, all these challenges we have had but we are ready to go,” she said.

UAC Director General, Dr. Nelson Musoba, identified new-born HIV infections as a persistent challenge despite available technology, particularly emphasizing the need to prevent mother-to-child transmission. He highlighted the goal of eliminating new infections among babies born to HIV-positive mothers.

UAC, established 32 years ago to coordinate the multi-sectoral response to HIV/AIDS, continues to face significant challenges, including limited communication and outreach, as well as the persistent issue of mothers giving birth outside of healthcare facilities.

Dr. Musoba emphasized the importance of following healthcare instructions to prevent the transmission of the virus from mother to child.

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