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New Uganda UNAIDS boss to focus on children, domestic funding

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The new United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Uganda Country Representative Sande Amakobe has said she will focus on tackling infections in children, adolescent girls and boosting domestic funding during her four year tenure.

Amakobe said that though Uganda is one of the countries that had initially made major strides to control the virus, it’s also a good example to show what happens when a country relaxes in tackling epidemics.

Speaking to journalists in Kampala on Tuesday, Amakobe  said taht while new infections have reduced to 83,000 per year, it is still such a high figure especially with more adolescents now getting infected. Up to 63% of the new infections happen in adolescent girls.

She therefore noted that her four major areas of focus will include tackling infections in children and adolescent girls, general prevention programmes in addition to how the country can increase its domestic funding for HIV.

“We can’t always rely on a cheque being signed in Geneva or Washington for people to survive.  Uganda is doing the right thing setting up an AIDS Trust Fund”, she said adding that while the programmes for epidemic control are effective, the main issue is about how quickly they are adopted and adapted.

However, even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that countries test and treat immediately when one tests positive, Uganda has not yet adopted the guideline. Coverage of anti-retroviral (ART) drugs remains at 60%.

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