People Living with HIV/Aids have expressed concern over a directive by donors, tasking Uganda to locally mobilize funds to sustain the fight against the scourge.
Addressing participants at the national HIV/Aids symposium in Kampala last week, the chairperson of the Aids Development Partners’ Group in Uganda, Dr Mary Otieno, said donors won’t be in a position to contribute the biggest percentage of the budget for Uganda’s Aids response.
This, she said, was due to other pressing global challenges.
Dr Otieno said donors are currently injecting $550m (about Shs2 trillion) into Uganda’s Aids response annually.
“It is important for national stakeholders to commit to financing the response. Donors cannot continue to fund 89 percent of the response to HIV in Uganda, especially given the emerging issues globally, including the frequent pandemics such as Covid-19, Ebola, drought, civil wars and unrest, and climate change,” Dr Otieno, who is also the country’s representative for the United Nations Population Fund, said.
“I am happy that this symposium has discussed opportunities for sustainable financing of HIV/Aids, and as development partners, we pledge our commitment to support the government to implement the agreed actions,” she added.
However, the news of reduced funding was greeted with apprehension by people living with HIV/Aids.
The chief executive officer of the Mama Club, an organization for women living with HIV/Aids, Dr Lydia Mungherera, said: “It is very worrying. We have 1.4 million people in Uganda living with HIV/Aids whom we have to treat. This is going to be a big challenge,” she said.
Rev Canon Gideon Byamugisha, who has lived with HIV/Aids for about 30 years, said reduced donor funding will affect service delivery.
The State Minister for Finance in-charge of General Duties, Mr Henry Musasizi, said the government would review a number of interventions to ensure the country transits financially as donor funding continues to shrink.
The Uganda Aids Commission indicates that 54,000 people contract HIV every year, the majority of whom are adolescent girls, young women, and adolescent boys, but girls are affected the most. In addition, 17,000 people in Uganda die of HIV/Aids annually.