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Uganda: Gov’t urged to meet 50 per cent of HIV/AIDS funding

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Uganda: Gov’t urged to meet 50 per cent of HIV/AIDS funding

We would like to see the government increase its funding for HIV / AIDS by at least half, so that in the event that donors withdraw, we can absorb the impact.

KAMPALA, Uganda, January 13, 2022 / APO Group / –

The Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) has called on the government to increase its funding for the fight against HIV / AIDS.

The UAC wants the government to bear at least half of the financial burden in an attempt to reduce dependence on donors.

UAC Director General Dr. Nelson Musoba said that the government currently contributes only 12 percent to HIV / AIDS programs, leaving the rest to donors and the private sector.

“HIV / AIDS continues to be predominantly funded by external sources. As a Commission, we would like to see the government increase its funding for HIV / AIDS by at least half, so that in the event that donors withdraw, we can absorb the impact, ”said Musoba.

He cited funding for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, where the government contributes just shs150 billion by charging most of the maintenance of 1,400,000 patients in treatment to donors. This, he said, puts the health of such patients at risk should donors drop out.

Musoba said this while appearing before the Presidential Affairs Committee on Thursday, January 13, 2022.,

He said the government should also put into operation the long-awaited AIDS Trust Fund which, he said, would ensure stable funding for HIV / AIDS programs.

The Fund would then be funded from the proposed tax revenue of two percent from alcohol and soft drinks and donor contributions, as mandated by the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 2014.

“The law has several provisions on sources of financing; It claims to charge two percent on the tax for beverages. The other provision is that there may be contributions from donors and individuals, and the donors are actually waiting for it to get going, ”Musoba said.

Lawmakers encouraged Musoba to interest the Minister-in-Charge of the Presidency who oversees the UAC to boost funding from the Fund, saying it will be a relief to the sector.

“In fact, we started this discussion in the Eighth Parliament after visiting Zimbabwe, where I was working; if it is operational, it will be of great help to you and the industry, ”said Hon Naome Kabasharira, vice chairman of the Presidential Affairs Committee.

Bukwo District MP Hon Evelyn Chemutai said she had participated in previous engagements related to the Trust Fund and that the fund was partially delayed by a disagreement over the account into which the money would be disbursed.

“There was an argument that the Ministry of Finance wants the money to go to the consolidated account and then distributed, but we insist that the Fund should have its own account but managed by the Ministry of Finance,” Chemutai said.

UAC submitted its request for shs10.680 billion for the next fiscal year, which in addition to external funding will focus on reducing new HIV infections currently by 38,000 and the HIV prevalence rate of 5.4 percent.

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