27 February 2003
Kampala, Uganda – Today the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has signed a grant worth US$36.3 million over two years bringing additional funds to support Uganda’s exemplary national HIV/AIDS program.
Professor Francis Omaswa, chair of Uganda’s Country Coordinating Mechanism and Director General of Health Services at the Ugandan Ministry of Health, said at the signing, “This is a very important day for Uganda. At this point, we have a large backlog of work to accomplish with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and have exhausted our own resources to combat these diseases. This has been our biggest constraint – a lack of resources to scale up our programs. In fact, with this grant we believe we will be able to accelerate the rate of our successes considerably.”
Uganda, one of first countries in Africa to experience the impact of HIV/AIDS and still one of the countries most affected by the virus, is also one of the continent’s great success stories in terms of reducing high HIV infection rates. HIV prevalence among pregnant women in urban areas has declined from a peak of 30 per cent in 1992 to 6 per cent in 2001. This and other successes in the field are widely acknowledged to be the result of high-level political commitment to HIV prevention and care, involving a wide range of partners and effected through an aggressive anti-HIV/AIDS campaign involving virtually all sections of society. Nevertheless, Uganda is still confronted with a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic, including rising numbers of people needing care and support.
According to a recent report by the Uganda AIDS Commission, 1.1 million Ugandans, out of the total population of 22 million, are infected with HIV and an estimated 120,000 have developed AIDS. It is estimated that 2 million children have been orphaned by AIDS. The socio-economic impact of the epidemic has been immense.
The program, titled “The Comprehensive Country Proposal for Scaling up the National Response to HIV/AIDS”, addresses gaps in financing the National Strategic Framework, and enables the scaling up of a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS, ranging from prevention to mitigation to treatment activities.
Ms Milly Katana, a Ugandan national and Global Fund board member representing developing country NGOs said at the signing, “Speaking as a person living with HIV, for me this grant is about partnerships and today’s signing sends out a message of hope to Africans that success in the fight against HIV/AIDS is possible and will receive the support it deserves.”