Tuesday 28 October 2014

Health ministry to use football in fight against HIV

Museveni to Launch “Protect the Goal” HIV/AIDS Campaign

Ministry of Health yesterday launched a new HIV/Aids campaign of using football and others sports to fight new infections and also encourage blood- testing among the young population.
The campaign dubbed: “Protect the Goal Campaign,” will be implemented by the Ministry of Health, Uganda Aids Commission, United Nations Population Fund, UNAIDS, World Health Organisation, Federation of Uganda Football Associations and Ugandan musicians.

President Museveni scoring the goal

Opendi said aware of the rising prevalence of HIV in our Country, now at 7.3% and the more recent evidence which indicates that the annual number of new HIV infections is substantially high among the young people, it is pertinent that Uganda launches and rolls out this Global HIV campaign to the entire country to increase awareness, emphasize prevention and scale up treatment.

“The campaign will use the popularity and convening power of sports to unite Ugandans towards the goal of an AIDS-free generation. It will also raise awareness around HIV prevention and encourage young people and all Ugandans to get actively involved in both the national and global response to HIV and support the UNAIDS’ ambitious target of 90-90-90 by 2020,”opendi noted.

The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV
She further explained, “This target aims at ensuring that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.”

She added that the Slogan for the campaign is; “This is your game, Do not let AIDS score”. It makes an analogy between goalkeepers protecting their goal and people protecting themselves against HIV.
Opendi revealed that His Excellency the President of Uganda- Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will preside over the National Launch of the Campaign which will take place at the Nelson Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, on the 9th of November 2014, beginning at 10.00am.

“He is also expected to participate in a curtain raiser Football match between Cabinet and Members of Parliament/Partners. This event will also feature Micheal Sidibe, the UNAIDS Executive Director.”

The campaign is being implemented globally and was first launched during the 2010 soccer world cup finals in South Africa and early this year in Brazil.

It was started by UNAIDS executive director  Michel Sidibe as an advocacy initiative to use the power of sports in order to attracts millions of people to bring HIV into public domain.

Ministry of Health and Partners in collaboration with Federation of Uganda Football Association have invited the Ethiopian National Team to play a friendly match with the Ugandan Cranes as a climax of the activities of that day.

As part of the mobilization for this big event, a number of renowned Ugandan Artists led by Bebe Cool, will be performing as part of their social responsibility to mobilize youth for HIV services and be part of the Global action against HIV/AIDS.

Artist; Bebe Cool will be performing to mobilize youth

Dr. Jane Aceng, the director general of health services added that 70 percent of the 137,000 HIV infections reported every year are among youth aged between 15 and 25 years.

Present were Prof. Vinand Nantulya the chairman of Uganda AIDS Commission, Musa Bungudu the UNAIDS country representative, Dr. Joshua Musinguzi the AIDS Control Programme manager, local artist Bebe Cool and Edgar Watson the FUFA chief executive officer.

Monday 27 October 2014

Celebrating UNASO@18 in pictures

On 2nd October 2014, UNASO celebrated 18 years of Existence and coordinating the Civil Society. The event was held at Hotel Africana. 

Reach Out Mbuya- member of UNASO exhibiting at UNASO@18 celebrations.
Jackie Aleesi and Humphrey Nabimanya Executive Director of Reach a Hand-Uganda

Humphrey Nabimanya and Maurice Haasa

Bharam Namanya UNASO ED and Titus Twesigye AMICAAL Country Director

Members of the Young people Self Coordinating Entity chatting with Master of Ceremony of the day Richard Kiranda

L-R: Humphrey Nabimanya, Dr. Sabrina Kitaka and Titus Twesigye (members of the panel discussing issues that affect young people)

Chairman Board of Directors, UNASO, Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga listening to Dr. Sabrina Kitaka's presentation about about Young People.

Bharam Namanya, Executive Director of UNASO reading through the story book before it was launched.

Dr. Sabrina Kitaka making a presentation about Young People

Founders of UNASO;L-R: Liliam Mworeko, Sam Wangalwa, Juma Cox being introduced by Peter Ssebanja

L-R: (front row): Peter Ssebanja, Dr. Christine Ondoa, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga
L-R: (behind row): Lilian Mworeko, Juma cox, and Samuel Wangalwa.

Dr. Christine Ondoa, Director of the Uganda AIDS Commission which is a partner to UNASO.

Dr. Sabrina Kitaka just arriving at the UNASO Celebrations

Minister of State for Health Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye looks on as a lady illustrates how to use a condom

Minister of State for Health Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye looks on as a lady illustrates how to use a condom

Paul Kabunga Executive Director of ACET

Immaculate Namugerwa exhibiting UNASO IEC materials
L-R: Humphrey Nabimanya and Dr. Sabrina Kitaka

Godfrey Walakira of Straight Talk

Dr. Stella

Invited guests at UNASO@18 celebrations

Panelists: L-R: Humphrey Nabimanya, Dr. Sabrina Kitaka, Titus Twesigye and the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Eliode Tumwesigye who was the Guest of Honour

Dr. Lydia Munghererw and Ms. Robina Ssentogo chatting former Board Members of UNASO

Mr. Bharam Namanya inviting the Guest of Honour to come and talk to the invited guests

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Eliode Tumwesigye introducing the Members of Parliament present at the UNASO@18 celebrations

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Eliode Tumwesigye giving a speech during the UNASO@18 celebrations

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Eliode Tumwesigye launches the CSO Annual Performance Report as Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga, Chairman Board of Directors of UNASO looks on

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Eliode Tumwesigye launches the CSO Annual Performance Report as Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga, Chairman Board of Directors of UNASO looks on

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Eliode Tumwesigye hands the CSO annual report to the Director of Uganda AIDS Commission, Dr. Christine Ondoa
Young People, Members of Parliament together with the Guest of Honour , Dr. Eliode Tumwesigye and Bharam Namanya UNASO ED cut the UNASO cake

  Cutting the UNASO cake
Minister of State for Health, Dr. Eliode Tumwesigye launching the UNASO website
Stephen Luyima (UNASO longest serving employee) receives an award of recognition for the services offered to UNASO


Jackie Aleesi and Dr. Zainab Akol

Invited guests

L-R: Humphrey Nabimanya, Dr. Sabrina Kitaka, Titus Twesigye, Minister of State for Health, Dr.Eliode Tumwesigye, Dr. Zainab Akol and Jackie Aleesi


Stephen Luyima posses for a photograph after seeing his name on the UNASO Wall of Fame. The Wall of Fame was created to recognize the people who found and have supported UNASO for the last 18 years.

UNASO Wall of Fame for Donors who have given funds to UNASO in the past 18 years.



UNASO builds capacity of partners in effective Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) programming for young people

Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. For sexual health to be attained and maintained the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.

Reproductive health on the other hand is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity relating to the reproductive processes, system and its functions. This implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.

UNASO is an umbrella organisation that provides a platform for advocacy, coordination, networking, resource mobilization, capacity building and information sharing among civil society AIDS service organizations to improve on the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of service delivery in Uganda. 

According to her Strategic plan 2012/13-2016/17 UNASO is committed to institutionalization of SRHR in HIV programming among ASOs. Strengthening capacity of ASOs to advocate for promotion and protection of SRHR is a key result area of the UNASO strategic plan.

From lessons learnt during the last 18 years of UNASO’s work, sexually transmitted infections increase the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV as most HIV infections are sexually transmitted or are associated with pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Lack of sexual and reproductive wellbeing and HIV therefore share root causes and as such HIV&AIDS and SRHR interventions cannot be handled independently.

Linking HIV and SRHR refers to joint work in these two sectors at various levels, including policy, advocacy, programming and operations. Integration of HIV and SRHR must go beyond integrating services and programmes to include explicit attention to rights and the structural issues that make people vulnerable to HIV and threaten their sexual and reproductive wellbeing.

Despite high-level political commitment to integrate SRHR into HIV&AIDS however, challenges remain especially because people do not receive comprehensive high-quality services since policies are not being translated into practice. Yet, when done correctly, integration allows for best use of limited health resources and can improve health service delivery. Successful linking requires good base programmes into which additional services should be integrated and for integration to work, we need to have the right people on board.

Against this background, UNASO with support from Stop AIDS Now has had two members of secretariat staff trained as Master Trainers in Evidence & Rights based SRHR and HIV prevention Intervention.

The two members have in turn embarked on training of ASOs within the UNASO network and also other CSOs in the region. The training aims to support organizations to improve the quality of HIV prevention programmes and reproductive health rights (SRHR) education for youth by helping them work towards Evidence- and Rights-Based Sexual Reproductive Health Education and HIV Prevention.  

In the last one year, 17 CSOs in Uganda have benefited from these trainings after which they developed plans of action for improvement of their programs.

The training was piloted in two organizations (Nurture Africa and Feed the Children Uganda) and using the results from these two it has been replicated in the other 15 ASOs. The major areas of improvement reported include: involvement of all stakeholders at different project levels, improved SRHR communication with young people, carrying out needs assessment to inform intervention design from informed and not presumed position and measuring effects at outcome level. CSOs report improvement in effectiveness as a result of implementation of these plans of action.

Other countries that have benefited from UNASO support include; Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa Ghana, and Senegal.

Written by Merian Musinguzi
Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist

Civil Society Statement to the 7th Joint Annual HIV&AIDS Review

10th September 2014


The Guest of Honour

Honourable Ministers

Honourable Members of Parliament

Permanent Secretaries

The Director General of Uganda AIDS Commission

The Director General of Ministry of Health

Development Partners

Representatives from the Local Governments

Representatives from the Private Sector

Dear Colleagues

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I feel greatly honoured and privileged to participate in this important partnership forum which marks the 7th Joint Annual HIV/AIDS Review. On behalf of the Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all the distinguished participants to this forum.

Ladies and Gentlemen

The 7th Joint Annual Review is carried out in the spirit of partnership between all

Sector stakeholders and takes the comprehensive view of the national response to HIV/AIDS. During this meeting as we assess the performance of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) and use the platform to generate consensus for the identified priority interventions for the new NSP, it is our strong hope that we shall jointly hold discussions on emerging issues on selected topics and agree on the progress on the response, recommendations, priorities and resolutions for the upcoming NSP 2015/16-2019/20.

The Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations raises the attention of the delegates here, the government, the UN system, development partners and all other stakeholders to the following issues.

Ownership and Leadership of the Response; Guest of honour, we would like to acknowledge the good working relationship between the Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations and the Government of Uganda; The government has continued to demonstrate its commitment to the national fight against HIV/AIDS through various ways, for example on 31st July, President Yoweri Museveni signed the HIV and Control Bill into a Law. Even though it has some unacceptable clauses, this law has positive provisions like a nationwide fund for HIV care, and outlaws discrimination against HIV-positive individuals in workplace and schools. We also recognize the great support from the AIDS Development Partners. Ugandan households contribute substantially towards the national response at the individual, family and community levels.

Recommendation: The revised NSP should advocate for the revision of the new law and removal of clauses that criminalise HIV.

Millennium Development Goal No.6 targets, among others, to have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. We are deeply concerned that given the current rate of progress, Uganda has no chance to achieve this target. Tables are turning on the Uganda HIV/Aids success story. The gains made in the last two decades are fast getting eroded by the increasing number of new infections. Statistics from UNAIDS show that Uganda is the third highest contributor of all new HIV infections in the world — third to South Africa and Nigeria. A new report released by the UN agency on July 16 puts Uganda in third position among the top 15 countries that accounted for more the than 75% of the 2.1 million new HIV infections that occurred last year. Recommendation: The revised NSP should clearly provide specifications on how different stakeholders, including UAC, MOH, CSOs, Local Governments, Political leadership, youth among others are going to get involved in the revival of strong campaigns in the HIV/AIDS response.

Financing of the HIV and AIDS Response; Uganda has continued to steadily increase investments in the health of her citizens. The health sector spending, that also includes those of HIV/AIDS, has increased from as low as Shs239bn in 2001 to Shs852bn in 2013. In the last five years, this significant increase in resource allocation to the health sector resulted in doubling the total health expenditure from Shs418bn to Shs852bn between 2007-2013. However the National response is heavily dependent on international donors; at the level of spending on HIV and AIDS described above, it means that with more than 80% spending coming from ADPs, Uganda’s national HIV/AIDS response is heavily dependent on external support as out of the US$ 1.747bn used in the national response between 2007/08 and 2012/12, a total of US $1.565bn was contributed by international donors. According to the NASA study that included on and off budget expenses known to government as well as private spending that is not usually captured by government indicated that between 2008/09 and 2009/10 funding from public sources contributed approximately 10.5% of expenditures on HIV/AIDS while private out-of-pocket sources contributed roughly 21%; the largest source of funding came from donors at 68%.

We are grateful to the development partners on whose support; the civil society has largely depended to make a contribution to the national response.  Your continued support will be critical in addressing the pending gaps. We strongly recommend that the revised NSP projects a target annual increase in the proportion of domestic funding going into the national response.
It is estimated that up to 1.6million Ugandans are currently infected and with at least 1.3 million who need to be enrolled on anti-retroviral treatment, following WHO’s new guidelines that require a patient to be started on antiretroviral treatment when their CD4 cell counts falls below 500. We have managed to put 577,000 people, with another 240,000 expected this year, but this still have a gap close to 500,00 that cannot be enrolled on treatment for lack of resources. Recommendation; As drugs for treating AIDS related conditions are available, the NSP should ensure that all those eligible are provided the necessary treatment. In order to reach zero new infections and deaths due to HIV/AIDS, as the national response succeeds in prolonging the lives of People Living with HIV, there will be need to invest in prevention to drastically reduce the number of new infections. We also recommend task shifting to allow community health workers to do rapid HIV testing in the public sector and nurses to be trained to initiate and maintain people on treatment.

The essence of smart investment in HIV is based on sound evidence, science and shared responsibility, can lead to millions of lives saved and an AIDS-free generation. It is also envisaged that the investment will ensure that significant returns can be achieved on a sustainable basis. This will require more political commitment and tough decisions to be made at political, technical and operational levels.

The event took place at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala between 10th-11 September. The above statement was read by Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga the Chairperson of Board of Directors, UNASO.
Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga reading the CSO Statement at the 7th Joint Annual AIDS review





UNASO report exposes wanting hospital boards

A new study on 21 health facilities in eight districts has revealed minimal transparency and accountability among hospital boards and health unit management committees (HUMCs).
The Uganda Network of Aids Services Organizations (Unaso) report is titled, ‘Assessment of the functionality of hospital boards and health unit management committees in 21 health facilities in eight districts in Uganda.’ The study, done to assess the extent to which HUMCs and hospital boards perform their functions in ensuring effective and quality delivery of health services, was done in Gulu, Moroto, Sheema, Rakai, Wakiso, Mbale, Mbarara and Mayuge districts.
It cites the inability of some committees to file regular reports to respective stakeholders as the major reason for this trend. Equally perturbing is the fact that some administrative areas are not represented on the committee. Also, some boards and committees are oblivious of their roles to approve annual health unit plans and assess work plans to guarantee that community needs are appropriately addressed.
For example, the HUMC members of Bulondo health centre IV in Wakiso district observed: “We do not participate in the development of annual budgets of the health facility. It is difficult to monitor a work plan when you did not participate in its development.”
The district health officer (DHO) of Sheema laments the lack of transparency, using an example of Kibanga health centre where the in-charge had used Shs 300,000 on an unintended purpose.
“I asked her to allocate some money to meals for visitors and she told me that she had already spent it,” the report partly quotes.

 “The chairman of the management committee was not aware of the money that the health facility had received. I had to pull out a copy of the guidelines of the roles of HUMC and the in-charge had to surrender Shs 100,000 of the Shs 300,000 she had received. This illustrates how none of the HUMC members knew their mandate.”

Such ineffective governance compromises the ability of management to succeed. For example, most HUMCs had at least two or three members that had dropped out at the time of assessment. The findings also reveal minimal participation of hospital boards in sensitizing the community on health rights, their roles and responsibilities.

Within the framework of the decentralization policy, which Uganda has implemented since 1997, district local government councils are responsible for identifying health priorities and implementing health projects in their districts.

HUMCs and hospital boards oversee the utilization of resources at the health facilities. They also streamline performance of health personnel including ensuring that health workers at health facilities report for work on time, attend to patients promptly and respect the rights of patients as enshrined in the 2009 Patients’ Charter.

Measures recommended by the principal researcher, Dr NarathiusAsingwire, to make HUMCs more responsive include a more participatory procedure that involves users in the election of members of the management committees.

“The health ministry should also conduct periodic appreciative assessments or inquiries on HUMC and hospital boards to increase their effectiveness and efficiency in management of health facilities,” Dr Asingwire noted.

He added that there is need to draw elaborate plans and locally mobilize resources to promote community interface activities to increase transparency and accountability. Also, to increase primary health care financing and encourage civil society support, mainly technical support.
Other report findings
1. Where LC-I chairpersons are members of the committee, they have voting rights, instead of being ex-officio members
2. Whereas the policy guidelines provide for membership on the committee for not more than two terms of three years each, some members had served on the committee for more than six years, with some having been on the committee since 2006.
3. Two staff representatives on the HUMC is the norm, rather than one as provided in the policy guidelines

written by Racheal Ninsiima of the observer