HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns in Kabarole district are being hindered by lack of funds, causing an increase in the rate of HIV infections. The campaign dubbed â€œBehavior Change Strategyâ€ was initiated two years ago by the district health department, following the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the district.
The campaign dubbed “Behavior Change Strategy” was initiated two years ago by the district health department, following the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the district.
Several NGOs in the district supported the campaign, which involved educating communities on the dangers of AIDS through posters, banners, radio adverts, talk shows and drama.
The campaigns focused on abstinence, faithfulness, condom use, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) and male circumcision.
The campaigns were however put on hold last year. According to statistics at the district health department, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate currently stands at 12.4%.
Last year, a research carried out by the Rwenzori Think Tank also indicated that the HIV infection rate had increased from 15% to 20%, partly because of lack of awareness.
Hosea Mpunga, the Kabarole district HIV/AIDS focal person says that some of the organizations like Kabarole Research and Resource Centre and Kitojo Integrated Agency stopped funding the programme and the district can’t sustain the campaign.
Mpunga says that in the past they were using 300 million shillings for the campaigns but now they have only 10 million shillings which isn’t enough.
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Richard Mugahi, the Kabarole District Health Officer says that the district has requested for funds from the Ministries of Health and Finance to continue with the awareness programme.
He also says that they have requested the district council to increase the funding of the health department so that more funds are allocated to HIV/AIDS awareness.
In communities where the campaigns were being carried out, the people there have decided to create awareness through village meetings and monthly home visits carried out by local and religious leaders.
Fred Kyaligonza, LC3 Karambi Sub County says that at every village meeting, they dedicate one hour to create awareness on HIV/AIDS.
Kyaligonza says that they will not wait for the district to get funds and will continue carrying out awareness, because some members of the community still have little information on the dangers of HIV/AIDS.
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But Beth Komukama, a resident of Burungu in Karambi Sub County says that despite the awareness by the local leaders, some of the leaders are not knowledgeable about the disease and some residents do not to understand the messages, unlike in the past when it was done by medical personnel.