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AIDS Commission Wants Gov’t to Meet Half of HIV Financial Burden

The Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) has appealed to government to increase its funding towards the HIV/AIDs fight by shouldering at least half of the financial burden in a bid to reduce donor dependence.
Dr Nelson Musoba the Director General Uganda AIDS Commission During a press conference at UMC- Photo by Ashraf Kasirye
The Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) has appealed to the government to increase its funding by shouldering at least half of the financial burden and reducing donor dependence. 

The Commission's Director General Dr Nelson Musoba says that currently, the government contributes only 12 per cent towards the financing of HIV/AIDS programs in Uganda, leaving the rest to donors and the private sector.

Musoba cited funding for Anti-retroviral Drugs (ARVs) where the government contributes only 150 billion Shillings, loading the biggest part of sustaining 1,400,000 patients on treatment to donors. This, he said puts the health of such patients at risk in case donors drop out.

He said that the Commission would like to see the government increase its funding by at least a half, such that in case donors drop out, they are able to absorb the shock. Musoba and other officials from the Commission were appearing before Parliament's Presidential Affairs Committee which is currently considering the budget framework paper for the financial year 2022/2023.

The Commission also asked that government urgently operationalizes the long awaited AIDS Trust Fund, which Musoba said would ensure stable funding for HIV/AIDs programs in the country. The Fund is proposed to be financed by the proposed 2 percent tax revenue from alcohol and soft drinks and contributions from donors, as provided for under the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2014.

MPs encouraged Uganda Aids Commission to interest the Minister in Charge of the Presidency who oversees UAC to push for financing of the Fund, saying it will be a relief for the sector.

Naome Kabasharira, the Committee Vice-chairperson said that the discussion was started in the 8th Parliament after visiting Zimbabwe, and that it was working. She said that the Fund operationalisation will be of a great help to the Commission and the health sector.

Bukwo Woman MP Evelyn Chemutai said that she had participated in previous engagements regarding the Trust Fund and that it is partially delayed by a disagreement on the account where the money would be disbursed.

“There was an argument that the Ministry of Finance wants the money to go to the Consolidated account and then be distributed, but we insist that the fund should have its own account but managed by Ministry of Finance,” said Chemutai. 

Meanwhile, the Aids Commission tabled before the committee a budget request of 10.68 billion Shillings for the next financial year.

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