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Govt Considers Automated Identification for HIV Patients

The central tracking system, which is under development will give each HIV patient a unique identifying code, from which they can be centrally monitored at any services delivery point across the country.
Members of the Parliament Committee on HIV $AID with the chat showing case prevalence in Central Regioon

Audio 4

The Uganda Aids Commission is mooting for a centralized digital tracking system for persons enrolled on Anti-Retroviral Therapy-ART, to ensure effective management of HIV.

The central tracking system, which is under development will give each HIV patient a unique identifying code, from which they can be centrally monitored at any services delivery point across the country. Dr Nelson Musoba the Director-General of Uganda Aids Commission is optimistic that this will help HIV/AIDs service providers to closely monitor and follow up with clients wherever they are.

Dr Musoba explains that besides addressing duplication of services on the same patients by different service providers, they are also counting on the centralized tracking system to address the challenge of patients that usually get lost on their follow-ups once enrolled on medication.

He observes that during the COVID-19 induced lockdown, the different service providers reported an increase in the number of patients who failed to return for routine medical assessment and drug refills at their original points of registration.

Because there is no common system of tracing for every recorded HIV patient, such cases, according to Dr Musoba are all recorded as lost follow-ups and not adhering to treatment, even if the patients shift to another service-delivery point of convenience.

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He says that while the HIV/AIDs service providers are trying to closely follow up on their clients through phone calls and other community approaches, it is also necessary that they put in place a system that cannot easily be defaulted.    

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In the meantime, the Uganda Aids Commission and HIV/Aids Committee of Parliament are conducting field assessments on the impact of the COVID-19 on HIV management systems across the country.

Bukomansimbi Woman MP Veronica Nanyondo observes that the transport restrictions during the recent lockdowns greatly affected the patients level of adherence to the ARVs, a result of which HIV patients opted out of treatment because they could not freely disclose their status at the security teams at the roadblocks.

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Kibanda North MP Linos Ngopek challenges government to always make deliberate efforts of ensuring that HIV-positive persons access their drugs whenever they need them if the country is to realize its aspiration on eliminating the virus by 2030. He says that the COVID-19 emergency situation has had grave effects on HIV treatment and case management which lead to some retardation in the country’s HIV responses.