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Uganda Health Reporter The Uganda Health Communication Alliance Vol. 3, No.4

19 August 2010



urtains were drawn on the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) in the Austrian Capital, Vienna on July 23 following a week of scientific presentations, political speeches, and demonstrations by activists among other events at the bi annual gathering. And as rightly observed in a wrap up of the conference, while there is clear evidence of tangible progress in HIV research and programme scale up, the AIDS response is facing an urgent need for increased resources, the protection of human rights, and broader use of scientifically sound prevention strategies. Held under the theme Rights Here, Right Now, AIDS 2010 could not have come at a better time when thousands of people in the developing world including Uganda are waiting for others to die before they can be started on treatment. And in the words of the conference co chair Dr Julio Montaner during one of the sessions, this is a crime, which needs to be tackled soonest. “We cannot wait,” said Dr Montaner. “People infected with HIV who have a medical indication to be on treatment, they are dying because they are not being treated. Not only are they dying, their families are suffering. They are also weakening our economies. This is bad for society. We need to do something, and we need to do it now.”

Our own Kakaire Kirunda getting ready to play the vendor’s role at one of the entrances to the AIDS2010 venue in Vienna, Austria. Kakaire wrote for the Panoscope newsletter during the conference (see www.

Yet amidst this the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS - the joint UN Programme on AIDS launched two important guidelines. While UNAIDS

debuted ‘Treatment 2.0’, a strategy to expand access to HIV prevention and treatment, the WHO launched the 2010 AIDS Treatment Guidelines. Among the hallmarks of Treatment 2.0 is using treatment as part of prevention, stopping cost from being an obstacle to treatment and boosting testing and linkage to care. What this means for Uganda is to put all the over 400,000 HIV positive people who need treatment on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). Similarly, the new WHO guidelines that require starting people on ART once they have a CD4 count of 350 or less, means that more than the current 400,000 in Uganda in need will require treatment. With the new guidelines, hopefully the Uganda

UHCA/HCP skills building programme takes off.

U with



Communication Alliance (UHCA) in partnership



Partnership (HCP) is piloting an onsite skills development programme to a number of radio stations. This is through a series of training

Journalists listen attentively to the facilitator during the Couple HIV counseling and Testing skills building workshop

workshops for journalists geared at benefited from this programme include promoting health communication, Radio West, Vision Radio in Mbarara, programming and reporting. The Guide FM in Kasese, Voice of Tooro in radio stations which have so far Fort Portal, Radio One and Mama FM

Also in this issue: UHCA shines at global media training.........................................................................Page 3 Workshop: Public health and social development............................................................Page 4 Workshop: Breast-feeding the baby friendly way.............................................................Page 4

Continued on pg 4

Uganda Health Communication Alliance P.O Box 36600, Kampala, Uganda Phone +256 414 669523

News AIDS: Financial obstacles in the way of new WHO, UNAIDS initiatives...cont’d AIDS Commission will soon tell us how many require treatment. Countries such as Uganda have over 95 percent of their HIV and AIDS programmes funded by donors, the major ones being the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. But the funding has levelled yet infections are not stopping, something that is likely to affect implementation of the new WHO and UNAIDS initiatives. This did not gone down well with the immediate former International AIDS Society President Dr Julio Montaner as expressed in his closing remarks at AIDS 2010. “International governments say we face a crisis of resources, but that is simply not true: The challenge is not finding money, but changing priorities. When there is a Wall Street emergency or an energy crisis, billions upon billions of dollars are quickly mobilized. People’s health deserves a similar financial response and much higher priority,” said Dr. Montaner. “Billions of people stand in solidarity with us in our drive for universal access. We must rally their support behind Michel Sidibé’s [UNAIDS boss] Prevention Revolution and Treatment 2.0 initiative and UNAIDS to ensure that world leaders do not turn their backs on their pledge to reach the goal of universal access.” And in a keynote address to delegates at AIDS 2010, former US President Bill Clinton said most donors appear to be giving aid in one hand but taking it away with the other, seriously affecting the fight against HIV and AIDS. “I think in too many countries too

UHCA/HCP skills building programme takes off...cont’d

much money is being used to pay too many people to attend too many meetings and get on airplanes to go and provide technical assistance,” said Mr Clinton on July 19. Clinton further said the United States and other funders needed to find a way getting a higher percentage of every country’s foreign budget spent in countries where the money “was appropriated for and on the people the money was designed to help.” However, as developing countries start discovering their natural wealth potential Mr Clinton wants the international community to challenge these Governments to put some of the proceeds to strengthening health systems, when the exploitation eventually starts. “With this economic climate and so many lives riding on it, if we do our part and we do as much as we can, if a windfall comes into these countries, it is only acceptable that we ask them to do what Rwanda and some other countries have done to put in what they can,” said Clinton to his cheering audience. Clinton, whose wife is the current US Secretary of State made the remarks at a time when Uganda is tipped to become a major oil producer in Africa. But the oil discovery has come with fears and activists are calling for transparency to avoid the anarchy that has befallen other oil producers such as Nigeria and Angola on the continent☻

in Kampala, Nile Broadcasting Service

*Kakaire is a fellow with the Makerere University School of Public HealthCDC HIV/AIDS Fellowship Program. He is attached to UHCA and recently attended the XVIII International AIDS Conference

Circumcision (SMC) and Couple HIV

(NBS) and Kiira FM in Jinja. The training has a component of orienting selected beneficiaries to certain health issues like Safe Male Circumcision (SMC), Couple HIV Counseling and Testing (CHCT), Stigma and Discrimination and Alcohol Abuse. The an










approach where emphasis is placed at encouraging participants to think, learn, enjoy and be inspired to seek more knowledge on selected health topics. Learning is achieved through



role plays, warm up games/songs, sharing experiences, discussing freely and






experiences with real world examples and discussing how the new learning can be applied. The next part of the training is expected to cover UBC Radio and Bukedde FM in Kampala, Voice of Lango in Lira and Mega FM in Gulu. It is expected that by the end of the programme about 160-180 journalists will have benefited from this pilot programme. Besides,




has also held half day workshops to train Kampala journalist Safe Male Counseling and Tasting☻


• This is a fellowship grant allowing students to attend BioVision, the World Life Sciences Forum, to be held 27-29 March 2011, in Lyon, France. BioVision.Nxt selects the best students in Life sciences and related fields (health, nutrition, and environment) from around the world.For more information visit. •

Uganda Health Reporter - 11 August 2010



UHCA produces best story idea at global media training By Deusdedit Ruhangariyo


ne of our members, this author, did us proud last month at the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) when he came up with the best story idea during a media training programme that usually precedes the bi annual gathering. The training was organized under the auspices of the Journalist-2-Journalist Project of the U.S based National Press Foundation (NPF) in Vienna, Austria- the AIDS 2010 venue. In partnership with organizers of the conference, the International AIDS Society, the NPF awarded fellowships to 59 journalists from 40 countries around the world to attend the four day training. All 59 participants were asked to come up with story ideas at the end of the training and this writer’s concept emerged tops, as chosen by fellow participants. The winning concept was “HIV among prisoners: A threat to the whole community.” I found the selection of my concept humbling. Looking through ideas from fellow participants, I found that many could easily be localized by journalists in Uganda and come up with amazing stories. And from those ideas I think Ugandan journalists covering health issues could pursue the following: • Female condoms for prevention; do women know they exist? • Are children orphaned by HIV/AIDS vulnerable to recruitment for child labor and as soldiers? • The dilemma of explaining antiretroviral therapy to children with HIV/AIDS • Teenagers living with HIV/AIDS • The challenges of choosing the right therapy for HIV positive children

In the Picture Deusdedit Ruhangariyo recieving a certificate from NFP President Bob Meyers at Arcotel Kaiserwasser, in Vienna last month.

• The impact of conflict and disaster on Health-care systems in the context of HIV/AIDS. The Bududa tragedy could be a case study. • Why do some HIV positive people deliberately try to infect others? • Exploring the deadly trio of Poverty, HIV and TB • Are harm reduction interventions like substitution therapies among drug users feasible in Uganda? • In the face of growing complacency, how can effective prevention campaigns be created without perpetrating stigma? • Dying, not from HIV/AIDS but failure to access treatment for the opportunistic infections; what is the problem? • Mental health issues among persons living with HIV/AIDS • HIV and alternative therapies: do they work? • Why do some people who refuse ARV treatment? What are their reasons? • Through society’s eyes: Adopting an HIV+ child • Does sex education have a role in HIV prevention? • HIV and Human rights in the prison context

• The search for a TB vaccine; what is the latest? • Exploring TB- HIV co infection? • Where is Government in the AIDS funding equation? • Is the HIV criminalization bill relevant? • How can laws protect sex workers and minimize the spread of HIV?☻ UPCOMING EVENTS Who? AGHA Uganda What? Organizing a presidential candidate debate on health care in the country. The aim of this debate is to draw to the attention of political parties and their nominees the weak health system in the country, with a view of getting the candidates to commit to addressing this critical issue. When? August 26, 2010 Where? Imperial Royale Hotel Time? 9.00 a.m *If not yet invited, tune in to your TV. The debate will be relayed.

Uganda Health Reporter - 11 August 2010



Media briefing on health and social development in Africa

Breastfeeding the Baby Friendly way


n July 22, 2010 the Uganda Health Communication Alliance (UHCA) in partnership with the Africa Public Health Alliance (APHA) and the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) held a workshop. The workshop was premised on two ground breaking works of research by APHA and ACHEST. The presentations were on the state of health and social development in Africa and the role of ministerial leadership in achieving a healthy society. The ACHEST Executive Director, Prof. Francis Omaswa informed participants that his organisation aims at building capacity inside African countries to effect home led change. He noted that although it was the role of any government to guarantee the health of its people, personal factors contribute to ill health and 95 percent depends on people’s living conditions. He stressed that “good health starts with us and this includes how we eat, sleep, bath and avoiding HIV and malaria.” He made reference to a newspaper story of a man who had jiggers and wondered who was to blame for his condition. According to Omaswa, “good health is the responsibility of the individual, then family and government,” in that order. Mr. Rotimi Sonkore, the Coordinator of Africa Public Health Alliance said that in 2001 African leaders met in Abuja and made commitments to increase health sector funding to 15 percent of their national budgets.

Prof. Francis Omaswa explaining to the journalists during a APHA and ACHEST Media breifing.

He however regretted that only 6 out of 53 countries have made good that pledge. He noted that whereas 15 percent additional funding is good, it’s not enough when it’s compared with the per capita approach. He informed the participants that majority of African countries are investing less than $40 per annum of the per capita recommended by World Health Organisation and 50 percent of this contribution comes from external partners. He stressed that the 15percent contribution to health should be viewed in the context of available social determinants of good health like water, sanitation, nutritious food, and sustainable use of the environment among others. Mr Sankore added that the 15percent contribution to health “is nothing if these services are not available.” Highlighting Africa’s poor investment in health, Mr Sonkore made reference to achievements made by some Caribbean countries. He revealed that on top of exceeding their MDG commitments, Cuba and Costa Rica have most of the social determinants of good health in place. He decried the slow pace at which African Countries were moving in readiness to achieve the set targets. He reminded participants that the Abuja Commitment target is 2011 which is just around the corner☻


n July 28, 2010 the Uganda Health Communication Alliance (UHCA) in partnership with FANTA 2 and Ministry of

Health organised a half day workshop as part of the activities to commemorate the World Breastfeeding Week, which runs from August 1 - 7 of every year. The workshop, which adopted the 2010 theme of “Breastfeeding the baby friendly way,” was attended by journalists from both print and electronic media and nutrition experts from various organisations. Breast feeding the baby friendly way is when a mother is given all the necessary support needed to be able to successfully breast feed the baby. In order for a mother to successfully breast feed her baby, she should be: supported to delivery in a health facility assisted by a qualified health worker, helped to initiate breastfeeding with in the first hour of delivery, provided an environment to practice exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and supported to continue breastfeeding up to two years and beyond while giving complementary foods. This year’s theme had its foundation in the Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative (BFHI), which is a global initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF that aims at giving every baby the best start in life by creating a health care environment that supports breast feeding as the norm. BFHI was initiated in response to the decline in breast feeding rates worldwide. The aim of the initiative is to therefore implement the sixteen steps to successful breast-feeding and to end the distribution of free and low-cost supplies of breast milk substitutes to health facilities and breast feeding mothers. It increase awareness of the critical role that health services play in protecting, promoting and supporting breast feeding; and describes what should be done to provide mothers with appropriate information and support for successful infant feeding☻

Uganda Health Reporter - 11 August 2010


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