UGANDA NEWS BRIEFS – 27 JUNE 200 by fjzhangweiqun


									UGANDA NEWS BRIEFS – 26 AUGUST 2008

*Please note that the daily news bulletin can also be accessed on the Uganda Clusters

Juba Peace Process/ Northern Uganda
South Sudan accuses Ugandan troops of civilian attacks (Afrol News)
Southern Sudanese official has accused Ugandan soldiers of killing 10 civilians after an attack at a
cattle camp in Kapoeta, about 250 kilometers east Juba.

Mr Marko Lokoroe, commissioner of Kapoeta-East, said civilians were killed by men in Ugandan army
uniforms, adding that even cartridges from guns used, that were found on the ground, were similar to
those used by Ugandan troops.

"In the latest attack, in which 100 cattle and 30 goats were also killed, a T-55 tank, the same model
employed by Ugandan army was used," Mr Lokoroe further alleged.

However, spokesman for Uganda People's Defense Force, Major Chris Magezi said allegations are
laughable, saying UPDF is a disciplined army that cannot attack civilians or use its artillery against

In July, Southern Sudanese government ordered Ugandan troops to leave its territory, blaming it of
rampant civilian attacks in border with Sudan.

South Sudan's vice president, Mr Riek Machar who is also chief mediator of Ugandan peace talks has
also accused UPDF of committing attacks against civilians in different parts of the country, saying if
fighting Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony was an option, south Sudan could handle
the battle on its own.

Southern Sudan has allowed Ugandan forces up to 100 kilometers inside its territory since 2002 to
pursue members of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army. Uganda is trying to end an insurgency by LRA
in which thousands of people have died and more than 1.5 million have been forced to flee their

Ugandan troops had committed to keep its forces in Southern Sudan to stop LRA rebels from
returning to northern Uganda and threatening Ugandan security.

Southern Sudan became an autonomous region following 2005 signing of a peace agreement that
ended a 21-year civil war between Muslim northern Sudan and mainly Christian and animist south.

LRA attacking Congolese villages – UN (New Vision)
THE UN peacekeeping force in the DR Congo (MONUC) has accused the Lord‘s Resistance Army of
attacking civilians in the eastern provinces of Ituri and Orientale.

Frank Mugabi reports that the force‘s spokesman, Michel Bonnardeaux, last week told journalists in
Arua town that the previous week, the rebels robbed villages around Duru area.

The number of casualties was not clear due to the remoteness of the area but Bonnardeaux said
following the attacks, MONUC and Congolese government soldiers had been jointly deployed in the
provinces to protect civilians.

The rebels have also been accused of killing villagers in the neighbouring Central African Republic.

NGOs accused of keeping people in camps (Daily Monitor)

NGOs operating in Northern Uganda are conniving with the government to keep people in camps, the
Gulu district vice chairperson Mr Marmot Kitara has said.

―I am tempted to believe that NGOs connived with the government to make our people stay in camps,
otherwise how do you explain your failure to inform the world of what was happening in northern
Uganda for 21 years,‖ he said on Friday.

Mr Kitara made the claims while addressing former displaced persons, development partners and
local councillors.
He said that for many years, the people working with various NGOs in the district used to go to camps
to offer assistance to the displaced and saw their conditions and suffering but they failed to inform the
world of what was going on.

He said the world only got to know how much the people in northern Uganda were suffering when the
then UNOCHA humanitarian mission coordinator in Africa Mr Jan Egland described the situation in
the north as ‗the worst disaster‘ after visiting the area.

Mr Kitara said he is also tempted to believe that the Ugandan government failed to end the conflict
early because they were bent on punishing the people of Acholi.

―There was a hidden agenda by the government to punish the people of Acholi, otherwise how can
they explain their failure to end the conflict and it dragged for 21 years,‖ he asked.
―When Itongwa tried to create havoc in Buganda, the government fought them and the same was
applied to Allied Defence force in western Uganda but when it came to northern Uganda they failed to
eliminate the LRA.‖

The government has previously denied similar claims that it allowed the war in the north to go on in
order to punish the people of the Acholi sub-region for allegedly supporting the LRA.

Karamoja/ Eastern Uganda
Karamoja gets sh9b drought fund (New Vision
KARAMOJA is to get a 4m euros (about sh10b) project to fight drought. The money, which will be
provided by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Organisation (ECHO), will be used to fight
hunger in the five districts which form Karamoja region.

The districts are Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Kaboong, Abim and Kotido.
The 18-month project is part of the Regional Drought Decision project that benefits four other
countries in the Greater Horn of Africa. The countries are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. The
whole project is worth 30m euros (sh72b).

―We decided to concentrate on Karamoja because it is the most drought prone region in the country,‖
Percy Misika, the Food and Agriculture Organisation‘s (FAO) country representative, said at the
launch of the project in Moroto.

Seven organisations have been chosen by ECHO to provide water and livestock development
activities, while FAO will monitor and evaluate the project.
―With good coordination and effective implementation, the interventions will have a positive bearing on
the livelihoods of the agro-pastoralists,‖ Misika said.

He said the chosen organisations would rehabilitate boreholes, distil water ponds and dams, construct
surface and sub-surface dams, train and equip community animal health workers and strengthen
drought warning systems.

Karamoja state minister, Aston Kajara, said the Government was in the process of procuring oxen and
ploughs to enable the people grow Upland rice, plant fruit trees and participate in poultry and bee-

Kajara said after more farmers have embraced rice production, they would expose them to light
processing facilities like rice haulers, maize millers and milk processing plants.

―The Government‘s mission is prosperity for all. We are not concentrating in other districts alone. We
have plans of encouraging the Karimojong to form savings and credit cooperative societies for better
incomes,‖ he said.

Kajara said the Government also intends to equip more Karimojong with vocational skills.

He said other plans include introduction of tractors for large-scale farming, improved seeds and
drought-resistant crops.

The Moroto district chairperson, Peterken Lochap, asked the Government for a tarmacked road.

Army kills 3 Karimojong warriors (New Vision)
A SHOOTOUT between the UPDF and the Karimojong warriors left three dead on Thursday. The
warriors were gunned down in Orom sub-county, Kitgum, after they raided 14 head of cattle, said
Capt. Deo Akiiki, the UPDF 5th Division spokesman.
Akiki said three guns, eight bullets and the cattle were recovered.

He added that the warriors also killed Cpl. Joseph Kato, a UPDF soldier. They also injured two
civilians, Akiki said.

The captain said the incident would not deter them from continuing to disarm the warriors.

―We shall maintain the momentum until the last gun is got from these warriors.‖
He described the recent incursion as an attempt by the Karimojong warriors to divert the attention of
the army from the disarmament programme aimed at riding the region of illegal guns.

Jopadhola, Banyole clash over wetland (New Vision)
TWENTY people have been left homeless and rice fields destroyed in a tribal clash involving the
Jopadhola and Banyole.

The area of conflict is a wetland covering about 4,000 acres between Paya sub-county in Tororo
district and Butaleja sub-county in Butaleja district which is occupied by the Banyole.

Over the weekend, several homes were burnt and vast rice fields slashed down in the skirmish
between the two tribes.

Rice farmers in Butaleja attacked the Adhola community on Tuesday night, setting homesteads on fire
and driving families out. They accused the Adhola of encroaching on their land.

The following day, the enraged Adhola in revenge raided rice fields belonging to the Banyole
community and slashed them down.

The violence prompted leaders of both districts to hold an impromptu meeting at the disputed wetland
on Thursday.

Both resident district commissioners, Mpimbaza Hashaka (Tororo) and Richard Gulume (Butaleja),
condemned the violence and urged restraint.
Tororo LC5 chairperson Emmanuel Osuna accused the Butaleja leaders of failing to address the
problem before the violence.

―You shouldn‘t allow such acts of violence to happen in your courtyard because it‘s likely to spark off a
genocide,‖ an angry Osuna said.

The Butaleja LC5 chairperson, Richard Waya, said: ―I wish to apologise to the affected Adhola
community living in Butaleja. I request all of them to calm down, return to their respective homes as
we find ways to assist them reconstruct the houses razed down during the skirmish.‖

Disaster Preparedness
Government issues flood warning (Daily Monitor)
Several parts of the country face flooding caused by heavy rains that are expected within the next two
months, government announced yesterday.

Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Minister Tarsis Kabwegyere told journalists in Kampala
yesterday that the epicentre of the heavy rains is expected to be eastern Uganda, where an estimated
3.5 million people are still trying to rebuild their lives after last year‘s floods which destroyed homes
and crops.
―The public is highly warned of this looming disaster,‖ Prof. Kabwegyere said.

―We expect unusual rains coupled with hailstones and thunderstorms. We are not aware when it will
happen but we are preparing for it. Weather experts told us it could be September or October.‖

He added: ―We don‘t want the public to say we didn‘t warn them. If you are in a flood-prone area, stay
warned. Fishermen and those staying near water bodies should also be aware that we expect heavy
storms and therefore, should also stand warned.‖

Accompanied by Ms Rose Bwenvu, the principal disaster manager in the ministry, Prof. Kabwegyere
said people staying on mountain slopes in areas like Bundibugyo, Kasese and around Mt Elgon
should be prepared for relocation because the government expects landslides in these areas soon.

He said the government has set aside Shs6.7 billion to help in disaster management response and
that some of the money has already been used to buy food to prepare for the looming disaster.

―We are not going to sit and wait for the disaster to hit us and we respond,‖ Prof Kabwegyere said.
―The recent floods which hit six districts in eastern Uganda taught us a lesson. We are now opening
up food centres in every region in Uganda to help in case an emergency response is required.‖

In 2007, heavy rainfall caused flooding, the worst in a decade across eastern and northern Uganda.
The most affected areas were eastern Teso, the north-eastern sub-region, central Elgon region, the
lowlands of northern Lango and the Acholi sub-regions. The government later declared a state of
emergency which allowed it to divert money allocated for other programmes to the flood-stricken

Prof. Kabwegyere said those areas are now facing a humanitarian crisis because all the crops planted
in the aftermath of floods have failed, leaving 3.5 million people in need of food aid. Prof.
Kabwegyere‘s warning comes after the release of a June 2008 Annual Failed States Index which
warned that Uganda lacks the means to prevent or cope with unpleasant shocks, whether natural,
social, political or economic.

While on his recent tour of eastern region, President Yoweri Museveni received complaints from
locals over the government‘s slugging response to the crisis. In response, he announced a Shs6.7
billion fund to buy emergency food aid and also gave Teso Diocese Development Association, a local
NGO, Shs1 billion to buy and supply fast-growing seeds.

Prof. Kabwegyere revealed that a disaster assessment team led by Vice President Gilbert Bukenya,
which returned from Karamoja last week, found the situation worse than his ministry had estimated.

He said: ―We are supposed to provide food to 3.5 million people in eastern Uganda. We are already
feeding 80 per cent of the people in Karamoja. We expect more floods. How can you feed people for a
day, a week, a month or a year? We are now resorting to prevention measures to reduce the effects
of these catastrophes.

―The hunger in Karamoja is too bad to the extent that the people have resorted to eating tree leaves,‖
Prof. Kabwegyere added. ―In fact we should commend the government and the World Food
Programme; feeding 80 per cent is not easy; we are feeding the whole region.‖

Government warns of severe storms (New Vision)
THE country will experience strong, severe winds and storms in the coming months. Experts say the
storms will hit western and central Uganda plus parts of Kampala.

The Government yesterday warned that the storms are expected to disrupt business and leave at
least 3.5 million Ugandans starving.

―We have learnt from the past that we are never prepared to address disasters. This time we are on
high alert and are warning the public about the emergence of storms, hailstones and strong winds,‖
said Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, the Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, while addressing the
press at the Media Centre in Kampala.

He added that the Government had put aside sh6.7b for emergency.
Kabwegyere also announced that the Government issued orders that all buildings must have lightning
conductors because the storms are expected to come with heavy lightning.

He added that they planned to table a bill in Parliament that will ensure that all public buildings have
lightning conductors.

He also urged farmers, especially those who grow bananas in western Uganda, to harvest their crops
early and store the produce.

―The Government has also organised training for all persons involved in disaster management. The
training will teach participants the best ways of handling disasters and national calamities,‖
Kabwegyere said.

He said the training, which opens at Hotel Africana in Kampala today, will attract participants from the
ministries of education, health, agriculture, works and transport, finance and disaster management.
Other organisations to attend the training are UNDP, the National Environment Management
Authority, World Food Programme and World Vision.

Health & HIV/AIDS
Rabies kills three in Bukwo (New Vision)
BUKWO - Three people have died of rabies and 35 others are undergoing treatment, the veterinary
officer, Dr. Henry Kulany Chelangat, has said. During an interview with The New Vision on Thursday,
he said the district received only 1,000 instead of 3,000 doses of the anti-rabies vaccine from the
health ministry. The rabies virus is spread through dog bites.

Mallinga tours areas hit by hepatitis E (New Vision)
HEALTH minister Stephen Mallinga has urged women in the north to maintain hygiene and sanitation
to reduce the spread of the deadly Hepatitis E virus.

Mallinga made the remarks last week while visiting Mucwini health centre, Padibe internally displaced
camp and Larakaraka village in Kitgum district. The two areas are the most hit by Hepatitis E.

The disease is transmitted through eating food or drinking water contaminated with faecal material.
The symptoms include fever, headache, general body weakness, muscle pains, yellowing of the eyes
and passing out deep yellow urine.

The virus, thought to have been brought from southern Sudan, was first detected in Lamwo county in

It spread to other areas, killing over 100 people and infecting over 6,000.
During his visit, Mallinga received a report from the hepatitis E response team, which indicated that
72% of the affected people were women. The cumulative number of the cases, according to the
report, is 7,331.

Mallinga urged local leaders to sensitise people on the importance of washing hands, constructing pit
latrines and drinking boiled water.

―We want local leaders to play their role in preventing the disease,‖ Mallinga said.
The minister noted that his ministry and donors would send money to the district for the construction
of boreholes and latrines.

He added that the main beneficiaries would be internally displaced people returning to their villages.

To fight the disease, the district has banned the sale of a local brew commonly known as kwite and
sharing drinking straws.

Households are being encourgaed to construct pit latrines so that people stop easing themselves in
the bushes.
Kitgum Woman MP Beatrice Anywar urged the minister to involve more women in the fight against
Hepatitis E.

Discordant couples; the new face of the HIV/Aids scourge (Daily Monitor)
Mr Justus Muhindi [not real names] found out he was HIV positive in 2005. Five months later, with his
health failing, he was advised to start taking anti-retroviral drugs which help suppress the virus and
allow people living with HIV to live longer, healthier lives.

There is nothing unique about Mr Muhindi‘s story in a country where more than two million people are
living with HIV/Aids. What makes his story unique, however, is that his wife is HIV-negative, although
the couple have had unprotected sexual encounters in the past. He is one of an increasing number of
Ugandan couples that are discordant.

About six per cent of Ugandans living with HIV/Aids have partners who are HIV negative, Dr Kihumuro
Apuuli, the director general of the Uganda Aids Commission, revealed last week.
He said, ―There are many people who are able to keep this virus at bay despite getting exposed. They
are able to defend themselves against the virus.‖

Discordant couples were first identified in Uganda in 1989 but the number is growing. In 2005, 4.8 per
cent of couples in which at least one partner was living with HIV in Uganda, were found to be
discordant; that number rose to five per cent in 2006 and has since grown to an estimated six per

The HIV/Aids Sero-Behavioural Survey that was launched on June 19 2006 found out that about five
per cent of about 4,000 co-habiting couples in Uganda were discordant.

The phenomenon, for which scientists are yet to offer a clear explanation, offers both challenges and
opportunities in the fight against HIV/Aids. According to Dr Apuuli, the ability of some people to resist
infection despite being exposed to the virus, offers scientists hope in the elusive search for a vaccine.

Dr Apuuli, who was speaking soon after his return from the recently-concluded World Aids
Conference in Mexico, said scientists conceded failure in finding an HIV vaccine but agreed that the
phenomenon of discordant couples provides research opportunities.

Dr Apuuli said, ―While in the conference, we waited for the scientists to tell us whether there is a
breakthrough in Aids vaccine and all admitted failure. Scientists found it logical to say ‗there is
something we can find from these people which can help us in our vaccine research‘. We are now
shifting the focus to discordant couples.‖

However, the phenomenon is also forcing public health officials to draw up new strategies to respond
to the changing face of the epidemic. The Director General of Health Services, Dr Sam Zaramba, said
the government has set up programmes like special counselling services at health centres, such as
Naguru in Kampala, to target discordant couples.

He said, ―These days we are making sure that we treat discordant couples with special need. We
know it is hard to stay without sex especially among those who are married. We give them special
consideration and regularly check on their progress.‖

He added, ―The number of discordance has increased because more and more people are coming for
HIV testing. An increase from 5.5 per cent last year to 6 percent this year is awesome. It‘s a big

If all people in Uganda knew their status, then we would have gone a long way in fighting this
According to Dr Zaramba, differences in body immunity could be one of the reasons why some people
are able to defend themselves from the HIV virus while others cannot.

―Discordance still looks like a mystery but we are not seated. We are in laboratories researching on it,‖
he said. ―But people have different immunities and therefore some could be having cells which help
them resist HIV virus infection.‖
Dr Jane Bbosa from Makerere University Hospital told Daily Monitor that she has received a number
of discordant couples testing at the hospital.

She said, ―At times we test couples five times and still find out that one is positive and the other is not.
We advise such couples to be more careful and in most cases we tell them to abstain from sex. We
don‘t want to tell them use condoms because we are trying to avoid risks.‖

She added, ―We haven‘t found out why exactly some people are resistant to HIV virus even when they
are having sex with an HIV infected person. There are many theories to explain the discordance. But
for us we are trying to find out if such people can continue living together.‖

Dr Bbosa expressed worry that if not accompanied with adequate counselling, discordance can lead
to poor relations among couples and at times separation and even divorce.

For Mr Muhindi, finding out he was HIV positive was hard to take. ―I used to stay indoors crying and
cursing myself until when I got counselling,‖ he said. ―I have now come to learn that when you get
Aids, you live with it like any other disease.‖

Counselling has helped the couple come to terms with their discordance, and allowed them to abstain
from sex to avoid the risk of infecting his wife. ―I don‘t know how it happened but it is like that,‖ Mr
Muhindi says.

―She is safe and I am not. I am happy for who she is. At least I know there is someone who will take
care of my seven-year-old daughter.‖

Put condom at the forefront in the fight against Aids (Daily Monitor – OPINION)
Nicholas Sengoba
There are times when life serves us with unpleasant surprises. You meet a man full of life, shake his
hand, crack a few jokes and fondly slap his back, then part ways. A few hours later, he is as
unbelievably dead as a door bolt.

That is the summary of the last day in the life of Patrick Ssegawa (RIP). As the euphemism goes,
Ssegawa ―had not been okay for sometime,‖ but he cheerfully soldiered on until the grim reaper
abruptly called time on him.

The writer of Ecclesiastes (12 :5) tells us that when a man dies, mourners go about the streets –to
continue with their lives. It is when I was ―going about the streets‖ after the interment of Ssegawa that
I reflected on the fight against HIV/Aids in Uganda.

Sadly more people are getting infected daily leading to a ‗recorded‘ annual total of about 132,000 new
infections. A ‗recorded‘ number of about 312,000 victims urgently need access to antiretroviral drugs,

yet only 125,000 are on treatment. And that treatment is not guaranteed. Stocks are wont to run out
leaving the lives of the patients at risk during breaks running from weeks to months.

The inverted comas on the word recorded means that there other victims of the HIV/Aid pandemic
who are outside the official score. Many of these ascribe their condition to witchcraft but still remain
sexually active so the tally is definitely much higher.

For years, Uganda successfully applied a multi-pronged strategy combining abstinence, being faithful
to one partner and using the condom during sexual intercourse hence the acronym ABC.
But the ‗C‘ was a very controversial option from the onset.

In the 90s, the defunct Weekly Topic newspaper ran a front page advert with a sketch of a sealed
condom. Below the condom were the printed words, ―the Bible may save your soul, but this will save
your life!‖ Many clerics and moralists took exception to the advert claiming it was not only
blasphemous but also encouraged ―irresponsible‖ sexual behaviour.

That, condoms charm people into having sex by ‗fallaciously‘ assuring them of safety is an enduring
argument that the church and other moral crusaders have used to influence policies geared towards
shooting down the condom. In its stead, abstinence, faithfulness, and of late circumcision which is
claimed to reduce the chances of infection by 60 per cent, have gained prominence.

But for the moment whatever we are doing, saying or preaching, it appears as long as the devil is in
hell; people are increasingly falling for the temptation to have sex outside of marriage. Even pastors
and priests full of anointing have not been left out; some reportedly going right ―at the back‖ and
engaging in acts of sodomy and paedophilia (sex with children).

The trouble with sex is that it isn‘t like a moustache on the face; from which one can easily tell the
bearer‘s shaving history. A man may have sex and go about the streets a few minutes later without
anyone realising that he has been up to some ‗mischief.‘

That is why society gets ‗shocked‘ when a happily married God-fearing man or woman is discovered
to be a victim of HIV/Aids. And it is increasing among married couples who swore at God‘s altar to
have and to hold one and only one partner. This, in a country where over 80 per cent of the population
are professing Christians.

We definitely are passionately preaching water and hypocritically drinking wine at some point in time.
The facts and figures are telling on us. It is therefore important that we climb down the idealistic high
horse and firmly place our feet on the ground of reality.

Since the leading avenue of HIV/Aids infection is heterosexual encounters, it is only right and fitting
that the first line of defence should be at the instant where the penis penetrates the vagina. And it
must do so with protection. That protection is the condom. Even if it is not 100 per cent safe.

Before we speak to anyone about abstinence and faithfulness, we should give them a condom and
teach them how to use it, just in case Lucifer unexpectedly calls the parts that hide underneath the
loin cloth, into action. That way the chances of a cheating husband carrying the virus from his casual
partners to his innocent un-empowered wife, will be minimised. So will the number of Aids orphans
and the need for charitable organisations (some church-based) many of which are making money
masquerading as ―philanthropists.‖

At the risk of sounding cynical, it is quite obvious that in the pragmatic world full of promiscuity, the
most serious and practical defence against HIV/Aids; the condom, receives little support for its
potential to harm the ―Aids industry‖ and all its beneficiaries.

The condom puts life in your hands. Keep it nearby for use in case ―silly ideas‖ that render you
incapable of abstaining and being faithful, spring up. You are only human.

The big picture on AIDS (New Vision – OPINION)
By Cathy Watson
THOUGH I think about HIV every day at Straight Talk, attending the world AIDS conference in Mexico
this month came as a shock. It was like having my brain prised open, taken apart and then re-

The first thing that hit me was the passion. Did you know that the US has no national AIDS policy, that
one in every 20th person in Washington DC has HIV and that AIDS has become a disease of African-
Americans? I didn‘t but it is true. In fact, if black America were a country it would rank sixteenth in the
world for HIV.

―Shame,‖ shouted a group of demonstrators, before settling down to hear CDC director Dr. Kevin
Fenton, himself a black American, give the newest statistics on the US epidemic.
There was more passion on the T-shirts. ―We are part of the solution‖ said a T-shirt worn by sex
workers. Other T-shirts read ―Science against stigma‖, ―Anger =Action,‖, ―Silence = Death‖, ―Obama
has tested‖ and perhaps my favourite: ―We are all equal, we are all positive‖.

The second thing that struck me was the pride and visibility of groups that are sometimes referred to
as ―marginalised‖.
There were native Latin Americans —the continent‘s original people —dressed in traditional costume,
some with feathers in their hair. There were also transvestites and transgender people, some of whom
looked like men dressed as women.

I watched the women who identified themselves as commercial sex workers (CSWs) and thought that
their tired faces told the story of appalling lives from which they needed rescue. But they were
demanding that their work be recognised as as a job like any other and simply made safer.

―We do not want to cook or knit! We are not dying for lack of sewing machines,‖ shouted Elena
Reynaga, founder of the Argentine Association of Female Sex Workers and the first sex worker to
ever address an International AIDS Conference.

Did you know that in many countries sex workers who carry condoms are more likely to get arrested
as police take the condoms as proof that they are selling sex? Then once arrested that they often
have to have sex with the police to get released?

As David Wilson of the World Bank presented data to show that India, Cambodia and Thailand had
reversed their AIDS epidemics by working with sex workers, I made a mental note to think about
adolescents who sell sex in Uganda.

I attended sessions on men who have sex with men (MSM) and injecting drug users (IDU), thinking
that if I learnt about HIV epidemics that do not resemble Uganda‘s, it might unlock new insights for me
about an epidemic that I think I know well. What I found is that MSM and IDU are likely to be
Uganda‘s issues soon if they are not already.
Doctors now have a new way of analysing the epidemic. This ―modes of transmission‖ process
examines the last 1,000 HIV infections and asks: where did they come from? Which populations
contributed the infections? This analysis shows where cases of HIV are going to occur and compares
what is being done to prevent infections with what should be done.

In a session on this process, we heard that in Kenya, men having sex with men and injecting drug
users contributed more to the last 1,000 infections than female sex workers. Yet there are no national
programmes for those two groups.

Some MSM is ―situational‖ —the men do not think of themselves as homosexual but they have sex
with other men because of the situation they are in. Prisons, of which Uganda has its normal share,
are the prime places where situational MSM occurs.

On the first day of the conference Uganda's Alex Countinho, who is in the running to be the next
Director General of UNAIDS, gave a stunning plenary address.

Among other things, he argued that: ―Prisons are semi-porous membranes. Men come in, acquire HIV
from other men, leave and infect females in their community. If you go to prison, you are more likely to
die of AIDS than anything else. Yet what are we doing about it?‖
Finally, in Mexico I was struck by the gleaming science and intellectuality of the conference. What a
lot of research HIV has provoked!

Did you know that sexual fluids can contain hundreds of millions of HIV copies, but we get infected by
only one single virus?

Did you know that ARVs can completely prevent viral replication but that no patient has ever had HIV
eradicated from his or her body? The virus persists as genetic information in resting T cells that live as
long as 70 years. Eradication requires an agent that could turn on latent HIV so that it can be flushed
out of the resting cells without causing toxicity. As yet no such agent exists.

But despite the tremendous advances in knowledge, there remains one single terrible fact. After a-
quarter of a century, success against HIV/AIDS is slipping spectacularly out of our grasp.
It is true that two million people are now on ARVs out of the 33 million who are infected worldwide. But
that is only 50% of those who need treatment and, as Coutinho noted in his speech, treatment is also
not straight forward: one out of every three people who start treatment drops out within two years.

A turning point would be if more people were starting on ARVs than are getting infected. But we are
far from that. In fact, for every two people starting treatment, another five are getting infected. So we
have an ever growing burden of infection. Most people currently living with HIV will die without

Prevention must be urgently ―ramped up‖. The good news is that in Uganda the thinking on how to do
this has begun. Prof. Fred Wabwire Mangen of Makerere‘s Institute of Public Health has completed
Uganda‘s ―modes of transmission‖ analysis. He presented the results in Mexico and will present them
to the Uganda AIDS Commission next month. We need to heed them.

HIV prevalence has not declined since 2002 in Uganda. And because Uganda has one of the world‘s
fastest growing populations, it will have increasing numbers of newly infected people each year even
if the rate of new infections remains the same.

Much is known about what works in HIV prevention. What remains, as one speaker said in Mexico, is
for us to: ―Do the right things, do them right, and do enough of them.‖

The writer is the Director of the Straight Talk Foundation

Mulago Hospital launches wellness clinics (New Vision)
STARING next week, Ugandans will be able to undergo voluntary routine medical checkup at Mulago
Referral Hospital.

Hospital director Dr. Edward Ddumba yesterday launched the Mulago ―Wellness Clinic‖. He said the
objective of the clinic was to promote healthy lifestyles by offering guidance, counselling and
screening of diseases. He added that the clinic would screen for conditions like cancer and heart and
liver diseases.

―We shall also offer advice on health living for example on proper diet and nutrition to curb obesity and
diabetes,‖ Ddumba said.

The clinic will open once a week and patients will pay a consultation fee.
The hospital has also organised a team of doctors and nurses to handle the big number of people
expected to turn up for screening.

Ddumba urged people to go for screening, saying some of them might have diseases developing in
their bodies without knowing. If detected in early stages, some diseases like cancer can be treated
before they do a lot of damage to the body.

The deputy director of the hospital, Dr. Isaac Ezati, added that it was necessary to screen people
even when they feel fine. This enables them to know their health status and and seek early medical
assistance. Ezati said the doctors will perform full body checks and carry out routine blood tests.

―We shall also deal with cases of smoking, obesity and alcoholism. We shall even help patients
measure their body-mass index and advise them on how to change their lifestyle.‖

Uganda prepares for malaria vaccine trials (Daily Monitor)
Uganda is set to receive a grant of more than 300,000 Euros (about Shs690m) this year to prepare for
a malaria vaccine trial by the faculty of medicine at Makerere University.

The money is to be sourced for by the African Malaria Network Trust (Amanet), the organisation‘s
Managing Trustee, Prof Wen Kilama, announced this yesterday at the start of a training session on
health research ethics for ethics committees and review boards in Africa.

―Sometime this year, we shall give them a grant for further capacity building towards the development
of a new vaccine and against malaria called GMZ2. That grant is worth over 300,000 Euros,‖ Prof
Kilama disclosed without stating the exact figure.
Although no date has been fixed for the latest grant signing, Prof Kilama said the money has been

Statistics show that malaria kills over 300 Ugandans per day, mostly children below five years of age
and pregnant mothers.
Officiating at the start of the week-long training, the State Minister for Primary Health Care, Dr
Emmanuel Otaala, said while it is quite a while since malaria vaccine trials started in Africa, hope is
not lost.

He said whatever outcomes got will go a long way in improving the way HIV/Aids is looked at.

Human Rights & Rule of Law
Government blamed for neglecting torture victims (Daily Monitor)
Human rights activists have attacked the government for turning its back on victims of torture
perpetuated by state security agents.

Ms Ruth Sekindi from the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) said the government actions
disregard the Constitution, which it is primarily obliged to protect and uphold.
―This government has no heart for the victims of human rights violations,‖ Ms Sekindi said.

Speaking yesterday on behalf of UHRC chairperson Margaret Sekaggya at the opening of a workshop
on the Prevention of Torture and Unlawful Pre-trial Detention in Uganda, Ms Sekindi explained that
the Constitution of Uganda provides a strong basis for the prevention and elimination of torture.

―Despite this strong provision, UHRC notes with concern that the freedom from torture, cruel and
inhuman treatment is still prevalent in our society,‖ she added.

Ms Caroline Nalule, the director complaints and investigations at the UHRC said torture can only be
eliminated if the government is held accountable and perpetuators punished.

―From our experience at the UHRC, the aspect of the right to personal liberty that is mainly violated is
when suspects are arrested and detained beyond the 48 hours stipulated in the Constitution, which
trend appears not to be abating,‖ Ms Nalule said.

Last month, UHRC noted in its annual report that the government had not paid Shs1.5 billion in
compensation for victims of torture committed by security agencies especially the police.

UPDF soldier kills two in Nebbi, shot dead (Daily Monitor)

A UPDF soldier attached to Angumu detach in Panyimur has killed two people and injured two others.
He was also later killed.

The soldier, identified as Mr Levi Emuto, allegedly committed the offence after he picked a quarrel
with a woman who refused to yield to his sexual advances.

Panyimur LC III chairperson Robert Okumu said the soldier took the woman on a drinking spree but
turned violent after she refused to go with him to his house.

He allegedly started to demand for the money he used to buy brew, something that led to a scuffle
that culminated into the shooting.

―The man (one of the deceased) wanted to go with the soldier but he was annoyed prompting him to
pick his gun and shoot the girl and the boys at the bar,‖ Mr Okumu said.

The dead were only identified as Denis and Nyarukayo while the other two victims, Mr Onyai Aluizio
and Mr Awure Okaba were admitted to Angal hospital. The soldier was later shot dead during a 15
minute gun battle in a joint operation by the police and the UPDF soldiers.

The soldier was later shot dead during a 15 minute gun battle in a joint operation by the police and the
UPDF soldiers. He was hiding in a nearby village.

Mr Okumu warned bar owners against selling drinks at late hours. He said there was need for the
government to sensitize the soldiers on the law.

―It is unfortunate for the killing but we shall follow this issue until a compensation of the victims is
done,‖ Mr Okumu said.

The RDC Nebbi Ms Betty Adima cautioned the soldier to stick to their professional code of conducts.
She said soldiers must aim at protecting the citizens against attacks from foreign aggression.

DPC Richard Mivule called on eye witnesses not to fear to record statements.


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