Ugandan President Says HIV/AIDS Costs Uganda More Than $700 Million Each Year
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni yesterday in Entebbe, Uganda, at a meeting of the Commonwealth Regional Health Community for East, Central and Southern Africa said that HIV/AIDS and malaria are stressing Uganda's health ministry and costing the country more than $1 billion in lost wealth each year, the Associated Press reports. Museveni said that the diseases' costs to the economy of Uganda, which has a gross domestic product of $6 billion, are "both direct and indirect." According to Museveni, HIV/AIDS costs the country about $702 million annually, while malaria costs the nation approximately $348 million each year. Ugandan health ministry spokesperson Paul Kaggwa said that the loss of skilled workers, decreased work hours due to increased sick time and the cost of medications and funerals all contribute to the diseases' high costs (Associated Press, 11/18). Museveni also urged teachers in the country to convene "general assembl[ies]" in their schools every two weeks to discuss HIV/AIDS issues with students. "This must be a pre-digested message which every head teacher must tell the school children who form a third of the population," he said, adding that the health ministry must provide the teachers with guidelines on HIV/AIDS prevention messages (Xinhua News Agency, 11/19). Uganda has approximately 1.2 million HIV-positive individuals (Associated Press, 11/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.