Current Ugandan President, Yoweri Musevini, announced a new plan to reduce the number of people suffering from AIDS.
On June 6, 2017 in Kampa, Uganda, Musevini introduced the President Fast-Track Initiative on Ending AIDS as a public health threat in Uganda by 2030.
The President Fast-Track initiative has been dubbed “Kisanja hakno mchezo” (no playing games) highlighting the focus and devotion that President Musevini possesses for the program. It includes a five point plan for focused action against the spread of HIV and AIDS in the country.
President Musevini’s five point plan for the President Fast-Track Initiative:
- Accelerate steps to remove the propensity of new HIV infections (particularly among girls and young women and their partners.)
- Eliminate the transmission of HIV from mother to child.
- Accelerate “Test and Treat” programs, bringing them up to 90-90-90 targets (obtaining a 90 percent for treatment, care and support by 2020).
- Guarantee financial sustainability for HIV and AIDS programs.
- Reinforce institutional effectiveness for a multi-sectoral response.
President Musevini took personal interest in the program and will receive reports in order to improve plans as they unfold. The Uganda AIDS Commission, along with leadership from President Musevini, will coordinate the initiative. UNAIDS, a leading UN agency in coordinating the HIV response, will have key leadership in the initiative.
Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS executive director, was in attendance during the announcement of the President Fast-Track Initiative: “For the millions of people who are not here today, they will be happy that their President is back in the driving seat of the HIV response, launching the first President Fast-Track Initiative. Once again, Uganda is leading Africa and the world to demonstrate that we can end the AIDS epidemic,” Sidibe said. “Under his leadership, Uganda is moving from breaking the conspiracy of silence to breaking the conspiracy of complacency.”
An estimated 1.5 million people suffered from HIV and 28,000 died from HIV and AIDS related illnesses in 2015. An estimated 40 percent of adults are still not on treatment due to mitigating factors, including access to medication, stigma and discrimination, an issue the President Fast-Track Initiative hopes to take care of.
Steps have already been put in place to reduce the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Uganda. According to UNAIDS reports, infections dropped to 83,000 in 2015, far lower than the 2009 estimated 130,000 people per year.
– Drew Hazzard