BY VAN DEGURAS
NTUNGAMO: SUNDAY, AUGUST 29, 2021
George Bakunda, the Resident District Commissioner of Ntungamo district has told parents of children living with HIV/AIDS to guide them on how to cope with stigma.
He also appealed to them to encourage the children not to shy away from taking their antiretroviral medicines.
“Fear, shyness and stigma bring none-compliance to medication which may result in weakening of the immune system and even death,” Bakunda said.
He made the remarks at Butare health centre III while officiating at the delivery of relief food donated by the Appropriate Revival Initiative for Strategic Empowerment (ARISE), aimed at promoting good health in children aged 14 years and below who are living with HIV/AIDS.
The donation was to benefit HIV positive children in the five sub-counties of Nyakyeera, Rubaare, Ntungamo, Ngoma and Nyarutuuntu and two town councils of Nyakyeera and Rubaare.
Bakunda advised the parents to give hope to their children and adhere to the drugs as the only way to suppress the viral load in their bodies.
He also hailed the ARISE, an organisation which was started by the former Woman Member of Parliament (MP) Beatrice Rwakimaari to lobby for the people of Ntungamo in matters concerning health, and challenged other MPs to do the same.
The Ntungamo district health inspector, Japheth Nyeete, tasked parents and children to adhere to the health workers’ directives if they are to live longer.
Penninah Musiimenta, the enrolled Nurse at Butare HCIII, who represented the in-charge, expressed worry that the health centre was still receiving the same amount of supplies of a health centre II from the National Medical Stores yet the facility was already upgraded to a health centre III due to the increased demand.
She also said that Butare HCIII is faced with the challenge of inadequate testing kits or laboratory supplies which has hindered the services to HIV/AIDS clients at the facility.
According to one official, Innocent Mwesigye, over 209 children with HIV/AIDS from 221 families in seven sub-counties and town councils in Ntungamo have been identified and enrolled into a programme “Towards an AIDS Free Generation in Uganda (TAFU II).”
The district’s coordinator of the village health teams (VHTs), Flavia Ninsiima, said that the donated relief items per child were 10kg of maize flour, 1kg of Soya beans and rice, bars of soap, beans and personal protective equipment for health workers and VHTs.