Ministry launches toll-free line to fight HIVAids

Kampala. President Museveni has asked Ugandans to fight the HIVAids scourge, as well as poverty, “in a revolutionary way” – a method he said the National Resistance Movement (NRM) he leads, uses.

“Government identifies a problem and prioritises it and the HIVAids fight is one of the government priorities,” President Museveni said in a message delivered by the Minister in charge of General Duties, Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere, on World Aids Day at Nyakasanga Grounds in Kasese Town yesterday.

Toll-free line launched
The minister also launched a toll-free line that will be used by health workers to enhance the fight against the deadly virus in the country. The new line, called “The National Pediatric and Adolescent HIVAids TB call centre,” is based at Mulago hospital, with experts ready to receive calls from health workers on how to handle special cases below 15 years.
“This toll-free service is an innovation of Ministry of Health to improve the HIVAids and TB services to children adolescents,” Dr Jacqueline Balungi Kangwa, the manager Medical Care Baylor Uganda, said.
The toll-free line is an innovation by the Ministry of health and supported by Baylor Uganda and Centers for Disease Control.

Dr Balungi said the aim of this service is to guide health workers on how to handle challenges faced while treating children and adolescents living with HIVAids.
She said the ministry policy is to have children below 15 years, who are HIV-positivem get treatment like anti-retroviral drugs.

Currently, three out of 10 children are getting treatment but the target is to treat all.
“We have found that health workers are shy and not confident enough to handle the HIV-positive children, even when the health workers have been trained, so the toll free-line will help them have guidance on how to handle such cases, thereby improving the fight against HIVAids” said Balungi. She added: “This line will help to compile frequently asked questions into a booklet that will be produced twice every year and share them with health workers in a bid to improve the health services” explained Dr Balungi.

According to Mr Musa Bungundu, the Country Director of UNAIDS, the rate of people living with HIVAIDS and on treatment has risen from 570,000 to 840,000 between 2013 and 2014 in Uganda.

The line
The line, (0800100055) will be open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.