KAMPALA, Uganda-Wednesday, December 13th 2017 [ AETOS Wire ]
(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, commemorated an enviable milestone of supporting the government and people of Uganda with free HIV/AIDS services and treatment for 15 solid years. The celebration, which coincided with the 2017 World AIDS Day, put the spotlight on AHF’s life-saving achievements in the East African Country of Uganda. AHF opened the first Uganda Cares clinic in Masaka, in 2002 in close partnership with the Ugandan Ministry of Health, offering the first opportunity for antiretroviral treatment (ART), outside the capital city of Kampala.
Since then, the Country program, popularly known and addressed as Uganda Cares has grown to become one of the country’s largest providers of free HIV/AIDS treatment, care, and support; and it’s program model was identified by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS as a best practice model for ART in 2003. From Masaka in 2002, AHF Uganda Cares has expanded its footprints across the length and breadth of Uganda, with presence in twenty-two districts, supporting fifty facilities and serving over 93,000 clients. A remarkable feat, that has positioned it as a formidable ally of the government in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and a dependable provider to the patient community.
To commemorate this significant milestone, AHF Uganda Cares hosted stakeholders, patient community, partners and members of the press to a special dinner and documentary screening, which chronicled AHF’s journey in Uganda over the last fifteen years. Speaking at the gala dinner, Henry Magala, Country Program Director of AHF Uganda Cares, highlighted some of the programs sterling successes. “In the last fifteen years, AHF Uganda Cares has conducted over 5,000,000 free HIV tests, and distributed more than twenty-one million AHF-branded Love and ICON Gold condoms in the country. We have championed evidenced based advocacy that seeks to address issues of HIV/AIDS funding, access to treatment, development and implementation of favorable policies, drug pricing, young women and girls among others. None of our achievements will be possible without sustained and strengthened partnerships at all levels,” he enthused.
Throughout its 15 years of operation in Uganda, AHF has continued to enjoy a close working relationship with the government, and this was substantiated in the speech of the First lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Honorable Janet Museveni who was represented by the Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, Vincent Ssempijja "I will like to congratulate AHF Uganda Cares on this occasion and express my gratitude for the support you continue to give to Ugandans in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Government will continue to provide an enabling environment for AHF to provide HIV services to the client,” she said. “I have had the honor of commissioning two of your facilities; St. Balikudembe Market Clinic in 2005, and the Lukaya clinic in 2013, and I am delighted to be celebrating this day with you. Congratulations once again,” she added.
For Honorable Vincent Ssempijja, it was a very humbling evening as he took guests down memory lane, to recount how he met AHF Board Chair, Cynthia Davis at a conference about 16 years ago, in a desperate attempt to find help, as AIDS ravaged the people of Uganda. “ During my tenure as Chairperson for the Greater Masaka region, I remember we used to have so many burials, about 5 to 6 a day as a result of AIDS in my community. I was disturbed by this trend and knew I had to do something about it,” he shared. “I met Madam Cynthia Davis (AHF Board Chair) at the conference; after sharing with her the dire situation in Uganda at the time, she introduced me to AHF’s President (Michael Weinstein), and the rest is history. Thank you very much AHF,” he added.
In her congratulatory message, AHF Africa Bureau Chief, Dr. Penninah Iutung reiterated the importance of AHF’s presence in the Country “fifteen years of staying true to our mission of providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy regardless of the ability to pay, and working in close collaboration with the government, is a testament of AHF’s commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS, and our patients serve as a reminder that we made the right decision fifteen years ago” she remarked.
“Today I congratulate you. Your tireless efforts has contributed greatly to the growth we have recorded over the years, and the patients who entrust us with their lives, do so because of how passionately you exhibit AHF’s culture of excellence and patient centered care,” she added. “Your dedication has made AHF a proud institution and a beacon of hope in Uganda.”
In her remark, Cynthia Davis, MPH, Assistant Professor, College of Medicine, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and Chair of AHF’s Board of Directors, expressed deep gratitude for the work done. “As one of those who was instrumental to the founding of this program, it gladdens my heart to see and hear the great strides we have made in Uganda and the thousands of clients we daily serve. I feel very blessed to be celebrating this day with you. On behalf of the Board, we are honored and proud of the work done—and to work alongside you—in the fight against AIDS each day. Again, heartfelt congratulations and thanks to all those involved in this incredible accomplishment.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 833,000 individuals in 39 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171211005382/en/
AHF UGANDA CARES CONTACT:
Regional Policy & Advocacy Manager, E/W Africa
AHF AFRICA MEDIA CONTACT:
Senior Manager, PR & Communications, Africa Bureau
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