People living with HIV/Aids want government to expedite the establishment of the HIV/Aids Trust Fund. The HIV Trust Fund was endorsed by Parliament in 2012 with the aim of creating a separate fund from the health ministry budget to specifically tackle the HIV epidemic.
The trust fund is one of the items in the HIV control and management law. The trust fund money is expected to go towards, among other things condom distribution, safe male circumcision, PMTCT services, improving blood safety and reducing sexually transmitted infections.
Steven Kasule, the National Coordinator of people living with HIV/Aids says that the trust fund will address the funding gaps as well as reduce donor reliance. Kasule says that there is urgent need to mobilize funds locally to address HIV responses, saying it is the only sustainable way to address the problem.
He says it isn't sustainable to have Aids activities funded by donors, because it could be disastrous if the donors pulled out when the country does not have an alternative source of funds.
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Beatrice Kagaba, the chairperson National Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (NACWOLA), Kabarole branch says that for two years, nothing has been said about the fund. She says it is high time government allocates resources.
Christine Ondoa, the Director General of the Uganda Aids Commission which was tasked by the government to make the fund functional, says that a task force completed its work and the fund will be start operating the next financial year. Ondoa says once its operational; the fund will be managed independently by board of trustees. He says government, development partners and civil societies will pour money in the fund.
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According to statistics from the Uganda Aids Commission, presently there are about 577,000 people on Anti-retroviral treatment but close to 90 per cent of this treatment is donor-funded under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief( PEPFAR) and Global Fund, including the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, which is 100 per cent funded by the American government.
Countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda have also proposed creation of the Aids trust fund.