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Ugandan Citizens Are The Biggest Contributor To The HIV Response - Dr. Patrick Odongo

Dr. Patrick Odongo, a member of the Lango Parliamentary Group discredited the argument that the reduced foreign donor funding has led to the rise of HIV infections.

On August 18, the Parliamentary Committee on HIV/AIDS presented a report indicating that Uganda had lost funding worth 457 billion shillings from the government of Denmark and Ireland in the financial year 2021/2022, leading to a spike in infections from 38,000 in 2020 to 54,000 in 2022.

According to him, it is lazy to blame the increased number of HIV infections on donor funding because Ugandans provide the most support although they are hardly recognized.

“Ugandans are the biggest contributor to the HIV response, but the problem is their contributions are non-monetary. Ugandans (VHTs) mobilize communities, we have people caring for the sick, and do followups, although most of this is non-monetary,” he said.

In addition, he mentioned the psychosocial support health workers, and cultural and religious leaders extend to the sick people is the biggest and most important contribution that has helped to suppress the virus.

Responding to the halted donor funding attributed to the effects of Covid 19 and the global economic crisis, Dr. Patrick mentioned that the funds are available. He mentioned that HIV is mostly an African and colored community problem, with more than 85 percent of infections in the black community.

“Being in a global village, I think it is a moral responsibility for countries endowed with resources to ensure that countries like Uganda receive support to respond to a global pandemic such as HIV because Uganda is using the resources allocated to it very well,” Dr. Patrick explained

According to his argument, Uganda is a runaway success story as far as HIV/ AIDs is concerned because of how it managed to achieve and surpass its 1990s goals. For instance, he remarked that 90 percent of the people living with HIV know their status while more than 93 percent are virally suppressed.

“Uganda and its people are a model because people accepted the problem. They go for HIV testing, and therefore it is a little callous for the donors to stop funding such a success story and leave the country to suffer a reversal in its HIV response,” he said.

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