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Koome, Buvuma Islands ART Program Gets PEPFAR Boat :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Koome, Buvuma Islands ART Program Gets PEPFAR Boat

The 20-seater water vessel is set to Buvuma and Koome transporting health workers, medical supplies, and commodities to scattered islands that lack access to routine primary health care including HIV/AIDS prevention, Care and Treatment Services, eliminating the need by islanders to make long travels to often inaccessible health facilities for HIV treatment.
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US Ambassador William Popp commissioned a boat on Friday that will be helping islanders easily travel to access HIV/AIDS treatment refills. 

The 20-seater water vessel is set to Buvuma and Koome transporting health workers, medical supplies, and commodities to scattered islands that lack access to routine primary health care including HIV/AIDS prevention, Care, and Treatment Services. With the vessels in place, the islanders will no longer make long travels to often inaccessible health facilities for HIV treatment. 

The HIV program in two islands is run by the Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP) whereby a total of 5,435 clients  are currently enrolled on  AntiRetroviral Therapies (ART). 

According to a statement released by MUWRP, out of the 5,435 clients, 1,790 are served through community models of ART refills where individuals access medicines through their peers even as Koome and Buvuma have fourteen operational government health facilities largely because many people living with HIV experience access challenges due to lack of efficient transportation. 

In Buvuma for instance, in addition to the 10 public health centers, there are four other health facilities offering ART but still, there are access challenges because there are no readily available commuter boats to transport clients daily.

They note that the absence of public transport connections between fishing villages renders travel to these health facilities expensive for many Islanders. 

Consequently, a considerable portion of the population either forego seeking medical services altogether or resort to costly journeys to the mainland, leading to sub-optimal levels of treatment adherence.

Prevalence of HIV on the islands remains high, whereby just between January and March, MUWRP conducted testing services on 1,753 people and 3.3% tested positive.

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