UPDF Starts campaign To Fight HIV/AIDS
On July 29, 2016, the UPDF medical services launched a campaign aimed at arresting HIV/AIDS prevalence amongst the young people of Wakiso district.
The campaign targets mainly the young people at secondary schools and it was launched at St Augustine secondary school where Kampala Archdiocese played a prominent role in the mobilisation of the youth in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
There was big turn up by the youth from the nearby schools, locals and also graced by the ‘Alina Talent’ drama group that performed at the function.
‘Alina talent’ group’s objective seeks to champion the campaign to eradicate HIV/AIDS amongst the school going age people.
The function was organised under the Theme: ‘Soldiers for Life’ and it involved positive talks (guidance) to the young people on the dangers of HIV/AIDS, prevention and positive living.
There was also free HIV/AIDS counselling and testing and blood donation that was done after a 3km route match from Wakiso District headquarters to the venue.
Hon Col Felix Kulayigye was the chief guest, representing the UPDF Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala. Hon Col Kulayigye, who is also the UPDF Chief Political Commissar, reiterated UPDF’s resolve to fight the HIV/AIDs scourge amidst the young population and within the force.
He noted that the future security of Uganda lies in the hands of the young population who must be preserved. Col Kulayigye related the fight against HIV/AIDS scourge to the combat operations the UPDF has engaged in.
“The UPDF considers the HIV/AIDS fight in the same way as the wars it has fought. We have succeeded in many wars and we shall not accept to be defeated by the HIV/AIDS scourge.” he noted.
Col Kulayigye, who became a victim of torture by the soldiers from the past regimes and was later prompted to join the liberation war said that it doesn’t pay to win many wars when people to defend are dying of HIV/AIDS. He therefore called on the students to be patient with their lives, live responsibly and avoid the deadly diseases that are spread through sexual contact.
Kulayigey further cautioned the students against other behaviours like use of drugs and indiscipline which would ruin their lives. He also urged parents to practice responsible parenthood and rapped teachers who sexually abuse school children and ruin the future of the children.
The Host of the function, Brig Sam Kawaga, the UPDF 1 Division Commander, was concerned at the high rate of new infections amongst the young population who receive services at the UPDF medical facility in Kakiri Barracks.
“While providing this service, HIV/AIDS cases are appearing prominently and unfortunately we found out that many school going children are continually getting infected with the HIV.” Brig Kawaga said, adding that this prompted his Division to come out and publicly talk about the issue in a bid to save the future generation.
The function attracted many people living with HIV/AIDS who shared their sad stories with the children and cautioned then against early sexual activity.
The UPDF medical services provides free services to the people living nearby all her units and particularly patterns with the Ministry of Health and other agencies to provide free HIV/AIDS services to the people. The Civilian clients who receive such free services in UPDF Hospitals comprise about 85% and soldiers comprise only 15%.