Last year, when the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis cancelled funding between 2014 to 2016, anxiety was set in motion for Ugandans living with HIV.
They were the ones who had already suffered the blow of corrupt government officials misusing funds meant for their treatment and for offering new hope for preventative initiatives.
Ugandas living with HIV now face an uncertain future concerning improved health services and drug availability. This uncertainty was demonstrated further early this year as The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) shut down its outreach centres country wide.
TASO is one of the longest lasting, local non governmental organizations. It brought to light the plight of Ugandans living with HIV and AIDS and endeavoured to offer treatment as well as psychosocial support to them. According to New Vision newspaper journalist Elvis Basudde, an estimated 30,000 people living with HIV and AIDS were at risk following the closure of TASO outreach centres.
Doctor Robert Basaza, the assistant commissioner at Uganda’s Ministry of Health, says overseas aid being cut has resulted in “a reduction of the volume of services especially to the poor and rural countryside and urban poor.”
On the issue of TASO outreach centres closing down he notes: “The rural and urban poor people will be most affected and effort to contain and mitigate the HIV/AIDS epidemic consequences shall grossly affected especially when HIV/AIDS epidemic is rising. There are no counter efforts to provide the services.”
With aid cuts and outreach centres shutting down, unanswered questions concerning HIV control and management hang around Uganda’s HIV treatment and prevention strategy, especially worrying given the current trend in which Uganda’s HIV prevalence rate has gone higher.