The minister for health Christine Ondoa has asked district leaders in Kabarole to do more to reduce the high HIV prevalence rates.
Ondoa was in Fort Portal on Thursday to hand over over six ambulances, five utility vehicles and an assortment of text books for reference in health facilities to the district leaders of Kabarole, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo, Kyenjojo, Kasese and Kamwenge.
While handing over the items at Fort Portal Referral Hospital, Richard Rwabuhinga, the Kabarole district chairman, asked Minister Ondoa and her ministry to intervene in reducing the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the district.
Rwabuhinga told the minister that HIV prevalence rates in Kabarole are alarming and worrying the authorities.
Latest surveys put the current HIV prevalence rate in Kabarole district at 13.5percent higher than the national rate at 7.3 percent.
The chairman revealed that many people especially the youth have died of HIV/AIDS and if the trend does not change, the district’s development will be affected.
Rwabuhinga demanded the minister’s special intervention in curbing the scourge adding that the health ministry should move to the preventative approach alongside with the distribution of anti-retroviral drugs.
However, Ondoa said HIV/AIDS is a behavioural change disease which calls for people’s change of attitude.
The minister asked district leaders to concentrate on mobilizing the people and spreading the gospel of Abstinence, being faithful and using condoms, the ABC strategy, instead of crying for the special intervention.
Ondoa noted that there is no way the ministry of health can intervene in reducing the scourge in the district adding that it’s only the leaders who will do so by sensitizing the people on the preventative measures.
She appealed to religious and district leaders to intensify their sensitization strategies if they are to fight the spread of the disease. The minister disclosed that if the leaders concentrate on sensitizing the youth on the preventative measures, the district will achieve much in reducing the prevalence rates by at least three percent.
The minister instead tasked the District Health Officers and medical superintendents in the Rwenzori region to compile a list of people living with HIV so they can be provided with ARVs.
She says government intends to supply all the hospitals and health Center Fours countrywide with ARVs. Ondoa also revealed that all positive living mothers need to be on ARVs to prevent mother to child transmission of the virus.
Richard Mugahi, the District Health Officer Kabarole, observed the need for health the ministry to design more HIV /AIDS messages to be put in the media, adding that lack of such messages has contributed to the spread of the disease because people are not reminded about the scourge as it was when it had just come.