President Museveni meets Global Fund boss

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President Museveni meets Global Fund boss
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in a meeting with Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands at the State House Entebbe on the 5th May 2024. Photo by PPU/Tony Rujuta.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni met and held discussions with Mr Peter Sands, the Executive Director of the Global Fund at State House-Entebbe.

The Global Fund is an international organisation created in 2002 as an innovative financing mechanism seeking to rapidly raise and disburse funding for programs that reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in low- and middle-income countries.

During the meeting, President Museveni appealed to the organisation to consider purchasing drugs, vaccinations, and other essential medical supplies from local manufacturers to enhance the country’s knowledge economy.

He also emphasised the importance of investing in the knowledge economy, particularly in vaccines, drugs, and scientific innovations for a country like Uganda.

Adding to the President’s submission, the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng outlined the four key areas for potential procurement, including Antiretroviral Drugs for HIV treatment, rapid diagnostic tests for malaria and HIV, long-lasting insecticidal nets and medical gloves.

President Museveni also reassured the Global Fund of Uganda's commitment to combating HIV/AIDS and malaria, stressing the need for prevention alongside treatment efforts.

“For the last 30 years, we have spread our HIV prevention message, and people have heard it. Today, the prevalence rates have significantly reduced, and those living with HIV are adhering to their ARVs. However, they should be aware of the physical exhaustion that comes with taking the drugs and take good care of themselves,” the President advised.

On the other hand, President Museveni articulated Uganda's economic progress through phases, underscoring the nation's transition towards diversification and the expansion of its money economy.

“When we came in, we aimed at several phases. Phase one was what we called minimum recovery to bring back the small island of the money economy surrounded by those who work only for the stomach. This you can see with tourism, which has come back, along with maintained coffee production, a slight increase in cotton production, and the resurgence of tea,” he said.

“However, we have not yet succeeded in reviving the copper industry. Phase two was to expand that small island, which we have done. For instance, coffee production has increased from 2 million bags to now 9 million bags, and tea production has grown from 3 million kilograms to now 60 million kilograms,” he added.

Mr. Sands reciprocated the commitment assurance, expressing the Global Fund's willingness to collaborate with local markets to ensure the supply of essential medical supplies while addressing cost-cutting considerations, market competitiveness, and tendering issues.

In his response, President Museveni committed to enhancing further engagements with local drug manufacturers to establish mutually beneficial terms for supplying their products to the Global Fund.

Mr. Sands also noted that the Global Fund's partnership with Uganda's Health Ministry aims to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria epidemics and shall continue to support the government’s efforts in preventing the spread of these diseases.

“With a cumulative investment of $2.9 billion and a forthcoming $700 million investment over the next three years, the Fund focuses on combating prevalent diseases and addressing unique challenges such as mosquito resistance and HIV/AIDS prevention,” he informed the President.

The Global Fund chief further lauded the President for his fight to end HIV/AIDS, stating that a progressive impact has been made.

“Thanks to the implementation of large-scale prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care programs, all provided on the principle of access to healthcare for all who need it, without stigma or discrimination. This approach has saved lives.”

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija, the Permanent Secretary- Ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine and Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo, the Chairman of the National Drug Authority (NDA).

Others in attendance were local drug manufacturers such as Mr. Emmanuel Katongole, the co-founder, and Chairman of Quality Chemicals Limited.

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