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Masaka Leaders Tasked to Bring Down Stagnant HIV Prevalence Rates

The 2020 HIV prevalence map by the Ministry of Health and Uganda AIDS Commission, places Masaka in the red-line of the top five districts with the highest threat of HIV incidence across the country.

Audio 4

The leadership of Masaka City Council has been tasked to work out new strategic interventions to reduce HIV/AIDs case incidences in the area. 

The 2020 HIV prevalence map by the Ministry of Health and Uganda AIDS Commission, places Masaka in the red-line of the top five districts with the highest threat of HIV incidence across the country. The Map shows that the HIV prevalence rate in Masaka stands at 11.7 per cent among people aged 15 to 49 years, far above the national prevalence of 6.2 per cent.

Michael Matsiko, the Southwestern Zonal Coordinator of the Uganda AIDS Commission says that such alarming figures call for fresh interventions to bring the HIV prevalence down. He said that the cases are largely concentrated in the urban centres and on landing sites, which frustrates the country’s aspirations of bringing to zero new HIV infections by the year 2030.  

Matsiko said that local council leaders need to directly undertake responsibilities of customizing and strategically implementing HIV prevention interventions within their areas of jurisdiction as an appropriate way to supplement efforts by the Ministry of Health and other agencies that operate at the national level.

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Matsiko also launched a multi-stakeholder District HIV/AIDS Response Taskforce that will be charged with inventing, coordinating, and evaluating all strategic interventions aimed at bringing down the prevalence rate Masaka.

The committee compromises the Masaka City Mayor as the Chairperson, the local council departmental heads, the representatives from the technical wings, religious and cultural institutions, who are all expected to harmoniously coordinate local approaches towards addressing the challenge.

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Abdullah Kato, the Deputy County Chief for Buddu; the representative of the Buganda Kingdom in the area says they are equally concerned about the HIV incidences that have not declined for a while. He says that they had already undertaken a campaign to reawaken parents to fully own the responsibility of ending HIV and teenage pregnancy.

Florence Namayanja, the Masaka City Mayor who is going to chair the HIV prevention task force says they are going summon all services providers operating in the area, to make regular assessments on their current response activities as well as forge a way forward to achieve their preferred objective in the shorted time possible. 

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According to the HIV prevalence map, Masaka rests in the fifth position as Kalungu district with 11.7 per cent prevalence, behind Gulu with 12.4 per cent, Mbarara with 13.1 per cent, Kabarole with 14.6 per cent, and Kalangala district that ranks first with 18.8 per cent HIV prevalence.