Kalangala, an island district on the shores of Lake Victoria is one that has attracted scores of NGOs providing HIV support services. They include Rakai Health Sciences Project, Kalangala Forum for People Living with HIV AIDS Network, Uganda Cares and Kalangala District NGO Forum.
The competition among Non-Government Organizations, to increase the number of people receiving Anti-Retroviral Therapy could be disastrous for patients, medical experts have cautioned.
Kalangala, an island district on the shores of Lake Victoria is one that has attracted scores of NGO's providing HIV support services. They include Rakai Health Sciences Project, Kalangala Forum for People Living with HIV AIDS Network, Uganda Cares and Kalangala District NGO Forum.
However, several other organizations from Masaka have outstretched beyond their jurisdiction to Mugoye Sub County, Kalangala District.
Nassuuna Faith, a resident of Kibaale Village in Mugoye Sub County says that in an effort to increase the number of people on treatment many organizations just test and immediately enroll people on ART without providing counseling and guidance to those that test Positive to HIV. She says that some patients have been subjected to multiple drug deliveries and treatment as organizations out-compete each other.
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Kalangala District Health Officer Hillary Bitakalamire says such NGOs that are desperate to meet donor targets have messed up medical services in the district and are breaching the medical code of ethics.
"If such organizations were not registered to work in the district, why do they illegally enter and mis treat patients? That is a breach of the law and engagement needs to be done to combine efforts." He said.
Currently, the district has an HIV prevalence of up to 27 percent. The District health office has put in place a combination of prevention measures that would help combat the spread of the virus in several areas. However, the measures haven't yielded results since Kalangala has a large number of Most at Risk Populations-MARPS like the fisher folk and the youth where HIV spreads faster.
The District Chairperson Willy Lugoloobi says the leadership in the district will cause a meeting amongst all agencies involved in the distribution of ARVs in order to harmonize the guidelines and targets.
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Currently, the district is implementing a program, "Assisted Partner Notification" where an HIV victim tells health officers all partners for easy testing, counseling and later introduction to the anti-retroviral therapy if found positive.
According to Kalangala's HIV Aids focal person Edward Muwanga, all NGOs providing HIV treatment and care should always consider working within the district set guidelines and those of country's HIV program so as to meet the set goals of reducing the spread of the virus by 90 percent in 2020.