Ugandan President Calls For Increased HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategies
Citing waning efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday called for increased prevention strategies, particularly concerning mother-to-child transmission, Uganda's New Vision reports. Museveni was speaking at the opening of the $2.5 million Baylor Children's Centre of Excellence at Mulago Hospital -- which will provide care for children living with HIV/AIDS and was funded by Baylor College of Medicine, CDC and John Damonti, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.
Museveni said that all pregnant women should undergo HIV testing, and, if they test positive for the virus, receive treatment to prevent transmission to their infants (Baguma, New Vision, 10/3). He added that with improved MTCT prevention, Uganda can reduce the number of children born with HIV, which currently is recorded at 25,000 each year.
According to the Monitor, although the country decreased the prevalence of HIV/AIDS from the early 1990s to 2000, the rate is said to be on the rise again (Kirunda, Monitor, 10/3). Furthermore, the New Vision reports that care for the 150,000 children living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda continues to lag behind care for adults, and Adeodata Kekitiinwa, director of Baylor College of Medicine Children's Foundation, said that of the 133 health centers that offer HIV/AIDS treatment to adults, only 32 do so for children.
Museveni said that about 10,000 of the 150,000 children in need of antiretroviral drugs receive them, 40% of whom receive treatment through Baylor, mainly in urban areas. "We must ensure equity to life-saving interventions to cater for children," he added (New Vision, 10/3).
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