Uganda Receives $37 Million in U.S. AIDS Funding, Plans To Provide Antiretrovirals to Government Workers
The U.S. embassy in Uganda on Monday announced that Uganda had received $37 million in funding from the U.S. global AIDS initiative, Agence France-Presse reports. That amount represents half of what the country is expected to receive under the initiative for fiscal year 2004, according to an embassy statement (Agence France-Presse, 2/2). Funding for the first installment of Bush's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative, which targets countries in Africa and the Caribbean, is contained in an omnibus spending bill (HR 2673), which the Senate passed last month. The bill, which combines seven of the 13 FY 2004 spending bills, includes $2.4 billion for international AIDS, TB and malaria initiatives (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/29). In Uganda, the funding will be used to expand the country's existing HIV/AIDS programs, including the provision antiretroviral drug treatment for 60,000 HIV-positive people as well as care and support for an additional 300,000 HIV-positive people (Agence France-Presse, 2/2). An estimated 100,000 of the 1.2 million HIV-positive Ugandans are in need of antiretroviral treatment but only 17,000 currently have access to the drugs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/19/03).
Government Employees To Receive Antiretrovirals
Ugandan Director General of Health Services Francis Omaswa on Monday announced that HIV-positive government employees soon will be able to access free antiretroviral drugs. The first shipment of drugs, which will be distributed through all of the country's district hospitals, will arrive this month, Omaswa said. Teachers will be included in the program scheme but will be required to request the antiretroviral drugs through the Ministry of Education and Sports, Omaswa said (Jaramogi, Monitor, 2/3). Ugandan Minister of Health Jim Muhwezi in December 2003 announced that the country this month will use a $3 million grant from the World Bank to begin providing free antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive people. In addition to the $3 million World Bank grant, the country has received $54 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, of which $9 million has been allocated for the antiretroviral drug program. The country is expected to receive an additional $62 million from the Global Fund to purchase the drugs. The drug distribution program will make Uganda the second country in Africa to provide free antiretroviral drugs, according to Muhwezi (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/19/03).
At least 25,000 infants are born HIV-positive in Uganda each year, according to a Ministry of Health official, Xinhua News Agency reports. Dr. Alex Opio, assistant commissioner of national disease control, cited the country's 30% mother-to-child HIV transmission rate. Opio said that vertical HIV transmission is the second leading cause of HIV transmission in the country after sexual contact, Xinhua News Agency reports. Although antiretroviral therapy can help reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission, the treatment should be accompanied by a "comprehensive prenatal care package, modified delivery practices and good infant feeding options," Opio said (Xinhua News Agency, 2/2).