2016

30.12

UgandAbout

Ugandabout – dicembre 2016

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Alcune notizie sull’Uganda e sull’Africa recuperate da internet nel dicembre 2016.

MORE WOMEN IN AFRICA USE FAMILY PLANNING
1 december 2016

UGANDA: LANCHES NEW HIV AND AIDS TREATMENT GUIDELINES
1 december 2016

FAO: LA MALNUTRIZIONE VA OLTRE LA FAME, 2 MILIARDI NE SOFFRONO
4 dicembre 2016

UGANDA LEADS THE WORLD IN FIGHT TO FIND A EBOLA VACCINE
5 december 2016

CENTRAL AFRICA: KONY’S KILLERS – ARE CHILD ACCOUNTABLE WHEN THHEY BECOME MEN?
5 december 2016

UGANDA, WHY THERE ARE INCREASED HIV INFECTIONS AMONG GILRS
6 december 2016

UN EX BAMBINO SOLDATO A PROCESSO PER I CRIMINI COMMESSI IN UGANDA
6 dicembre 2016

UGANDA: HIV RATES STILL HIGH
6 december 2016

18.000 CHILDEN BLIND IN UGANDA
10 december 2016

NEL 2015 I NUOVI CASI DI MALARIA NEL MONDO SONO STATI 212 MILIONI, 429.000 I DECESSI
14 dicembre 2016

OMS: VACCINO CONTRO EBOLA EFFICACE AL 100%
14 dicembre 2016

MALARIA DEATHS ON THE RISE – WHO REPORT
23 december 2016

THOUSAND OF SOUTH SUDANESE REFUGEES FLEEING INTO UGANDA
26 december 2016


MORE WOMEN IN AFRICA USE FAMILY PLANNING
1 december 2016
The number of women and girls using modern contraception methods has grown by 5.3 million or 22 per cent in East and Southern Africa since the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) initiative was launched in 2012.
According to a mid-term review report, Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia registered some of the highest numbers of women and girls who are using modern family planning methods.
In Kenya, an additional 1.15 million new users have been added since 2012 while Uganda has registered an additional 844,000 new users. Ethiopia registered an additional 1.5 million new users while in Zambia that figure grew by 524,000 women and girls.
In countries covered by the FP2020 initiative, up to 30.2 million more women and girls have been accessing modern family planning methods in the past four years, according to the report.
The FP2020 initiative aims to ensure that 120 million more women and girls in 69 of the world’s poorest countries, mostly in Africa and Asia have access to some form of modern family planning method by 2020.
But, despite this progress, health and development experts say the goal to reach 120 million more women and girls with contraceptives by 2020 is not on track.
According to the report, the midpoint target is short by up to 19.2 million new users.
Kanyanta Sunkutu, a technical specialist in charge of reproductive health for UNFPA in East and Southern Africa, said several barriers still stand in the way of ensuring increased uptake of modern family planning methods.
“There are many myths and misconceptions out there about family planning. Unless we deal with them, we shall continue to see slow uptake” said Dr Sunkutu. He noted that gender norms also affect the way women access family planning services, especially in Africa.
“All these contraceptive methods deal with women. And because contraceptive interventions mostly focus on women, it places too much burden on them and not the men, who often are responsible for making decisions in homes” said Dr Sunkutu.
Pills, injectables and implants are some of the common contraceptive methods that women are using, according to the report. Dr Sunkutu said giving women several choices helps them take up a method that suits them, thereby making it easy for them to use it effectively and consistently.
fonte allafrica.com – Evelyn Lirri

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UGANDA: LANCHES NEW HIV AND AIDS TREATMENT GUIDELINES
1 december 2016
Uganda’s Minister of State for Health Sarah Opendi has launched new HIV and AIDS treatment guidelines. In the new guidelines, anyone infected with HIV should begin antiretroviral treatment soon after diagnosis. All HIV-infected individuals will now be eligible for antiretroviral treatment regardless of disease stage or CD-4 cell count.
The guidelines that were launched, one of several activities as the world marks AIDS Day, are in alignment with the global targets which aim to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. These targets include 90% of people living with HIV being aware of their HIV infection, 90% of those receiving antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of people on ART having no detectable virus in their blood.
With this ‘test and treat’ recommendation, all limitations on eligibility for antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people living with HIV/AIDS are removed.
“In order for sound implementation, testing and treatment for HIV infection is readily available and those undergoing treatment are supported to adhere to recommended regimens and are retained in care” according to a statement from Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Health statement added that, “With these new guidelines we will incrementally enroll new clients on ART from the current coverage of 61% to reach 80% by 2020.The Ministry will aggressively monitor the attainment of these targets across all population groups in the country to make sure that no one is left behind.”
The Ministry is releasing a circular to all health facilities, and has also developed a comprehensive roll out plan, that will ensure that all facility staff across the country are trained on the new guidelines, and that facilities are supported to requisition for adequate stock of antiretroviral drugs to meet the slightly added demand for ARVs.
Minister Opendi hailed partners, U.S. Embassy Kampala World Health Organization, Uganda UNICEF Uganda UNAIDS The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Clinton Health Access Initiative DFID – UK Department for International Development DANIDA unfpa – Uganda and other International and National NGOs, Academic Institutions and Health Workers.
Uganda has made notable progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. There is high coverage of People Living with HIV on the ART program from about 329,000 in 2011 to about 834,931 in 2015 and the reduction in AIDS related deaths from 63,000 in 2013 to 28,000 in 2015.
Uganda is implementing a robust HIV and AIDS response following a combination HIV prevention approach. The focus of this approach has been the implementation of high impact structural, behavioural and biomedical interventions.
Interventions undertaken by the Ministry include: HIV Counseling and Testing, Family Planning, Condom distribution to targeted audiences, providing ART to all HIV positive people among others.
As a result of this approach, the country has observed significant achievements such as declines in new HIV infections, decline in AIDS related deaths as well as a significant increase in the number of people living with HIV/AIDS who receive care and treatment.
fonte allafrica.com

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FAO: LA MALNUTRIZIONE VA OLTRE LA FAME, 2 MILIARDI NE SOFFRONO
4 dicembre 2016
Oggi circa 800 milioni di persone soffrono la fame cronica, nel senso che non sono regolarmente nelle condizioni di consumare cibo in quantità sufficiente per condurre e mantenere una vita sana e attiva. La malnutrizione va oltre la fame cronica e include la mancanza di micronutrienti, il sovrappeso e l’obesità. Diete povere sono collegate a una varietà di problemi di salute e possono favorire la povertà e ostacolare lo sviluppo economico.
Oltre due miliardi di persone nel mondo soffrono di qualche forma di malnutrizione legata alla mancanza di micronutrienti e si stima che 150 milioni di bambini sotto i 5 anni di età siano affetti da rachitismo a causa di diete inadeguate. Allo stesso tempo, 1,9 miliardi di persone sono sovrappeso e circa 600 milioni sono obesi.
Le sfide poste dalla nutrizione sono complesse e spesso sovrapposte tra loro: persone nelle stesse comunità possono soffrire fame, mancanza di micronutrienti e obesità oltre ad altre problematiche.
Il costo della malnutrizione globale – Si è appena concluso un simposio internazionale che ha avuto l’obiettivo di rispondere, attraverso diete più sane e migliori sistemi alimentari, agli effetti della malnutrizione sulla salute pubblica e lo sviluppo economico, con costi stimati attorno ai 3.500 miliardi di dollari all’anno. L’International Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition ha analizzato sfide e successi in diversi paesi, per mettere in risalto approcci efficaci per  rimodellare la produzione, la trasformazione, la commercializzazione e la vendita al dettaglio del cibo ed affrontare così il fenomeno della malnutrizione, problema che nel mondo colpisce miliardi di persone ed ha la capacità di intrappolare le generazioni in un circolo vizioso di povertà e fame.
“Nessun Paese è immune” – Aprendo i lavori del simposio organizzato dalla FAO e dall’Organizzazione Mondiale della Sanità (OMS), il direttore generale della FAO, José Graziano da Silva, ha denunciando il fatto che al mondo una persona su tre è colpita da malnutrizione – intesa come sotto-alimentazione o peso eccessivo e obesità. “Nessun paese è immune a questo problema” – ha aggiunto – “che ha costi umani, sociali, ambientali ed economici giganteschi“. Graziano da Silva ha assicurato il sostegno della FAO ai paesi per aiutarli “ad adottare un approccio di sistema, che intervenga ad ogni stadio della catena alimentare: dalla produzione, alla lavorazione, alla commercializzazione e al consumo”.
“E’ una responsabilità dello Stato” – “La nutrizione deve essere considerata una questione di interesse pubblico, una responsabilità dello Stato”, ha continuato, “i consumatori devono essere messi in condizione di poter scegliere cibo e diete sane”, attraverso sistemi di protezione sociale e sistemi educativi dedicati oltre a pratiche di etichettatura e promozione efficaci ed accurate. I governi devono incoraggiare la diversificazione della produzione agricola, promuovere una migliore gestione del raccolto, facilitare l’accesso ai mercati dei piccoli produttori poveri e garantire la salubrità del cibo, ha aggiunto. Il direttore generale della FAO ha inoltre proclamato Re Letsie III del Lesotho ambasciatore speciale della FAO per la nutrizione.
Il ruolo del Re del Lesotho – Impegnandosi ad assumere il nuovo ruolo con energia e passione, Re Letsie ha salutato il fatto che la nutrizione sia oggi saldamente presente nell’agenda internazionale. In Africa, solo pochi anni fa, ha affermato “la nutrizione non era una priorità per le discussioni, e tanto meno per gli investimenti”, ma ora “il vento è cambiato per il meglio”. Incoraggiando i partecipanti a trarre il massimo slancio dal simposio, Re Letsie ha ricordato “che esiste una correlazione diretta e positiva tra nutrizione e sviluppo socio economico delle nazioni. Sono gli individui ben alimentati e ben nutriti che possono trainare lo sviluppo economico dei paesi”.
Lorenzin: “Investimenti per la ricerca” – Il Ministro Italiano della Salute Beatrice Lorenzin, presiedendo la cerimonia di apertura del simposio, ha affermato che “il cibo è sicuramente la nostra prima fonte di energia e ci sostiene, ma è allo stesso tempo la prima arma di salute che abbiamo. Una corretta alimentazione può essere la nostra arma migliore contro malattie croniche non trasmissibili”. Il Ministro ha posto l’accento sull’importanza di programmi educativi che insegnano non solo il valore del mangiare sano, ma anche che promuovono cultura e tradizioni del vivere sano, come la dieta mediterranea. Lorenzin ha inoltre lanciato un appello per investimenti e ricerca per migliorare la nutrizione nei sistemi agricoli e alimentari, oltre alla creazione di osservatori nazionali sulla nutrizione per monitorale gli sviluppi e per identificare le aree da migliorare.
fonte repubblica.it

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UGANDA LEADS THE WORLD IN FIGHT TO FIND A EBOLA VACCINE
5 december 2016
The world breathed a sigh of relief when West Africa’s Ebola outbreak came to an end earlier this year, closing the books on the largest and most deadly epidemic in history.
More than 28,500 people were infected and more than 11,000 died in just two years.
But while the outbreak might already feel like a distant memory, Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers are still a fact of life across communities in Africa.
For researchers in Uganda – a country that has experienced five Ebola outbreaks – the threat of the disease that kills between 50% and 90% of all those infected isn’t just a possibility pulled from 1995 best seller, ‘The Hot Zone’. For them, another outbreak of Ebola is almost certain.
Luckily, so is finding a cure. Uganda is especially susceptible to viral hemorrhagic fevers – a group of animal and human diseases transmitted by bodily fluids and known for causing profuse bleeding, high fevers and an almost unprecedented mortality rate.
Currently, there is no vaccine for Ebola, which disproportionally affects poor and vulnerable communities in Africa, many that don’t have access to medical treatment. Ugandan researcher Francis Kiweewa wants to change that.
Kiweewa is involved in three clinical trials in Uganda that aim to protect patients living in Ebola-endemic regions using proteins derived from different strains of Ebola.
Despite the clear need for a vaccine, Kiweewa said getting the vaccine developed hasn’t been easy.
“Until the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Ebola affects only a handful of people, mainly in poor countries, every year” he said. “Many pharmaceutical companies lack the interest to pursue a vaccine program for a disease that affects only a handful of people per year among communities that will hardly be able to pay for the product.”
Additionally, the complexity of such outbreaks, which can claim lives quickly and then disappear for years or even decades, as well as the lack of funding for Ebola research (most research in Uganda is funded by external donors, not the government) further complicates vaccine development, Kiweewa said.
Several Ebola vaccines have been tested in the past, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any for human use.
While Kiweewa remains optimistic about Uganda’s vaccine trials, he’s also quick to admit it could be months or even years before any vaccine is widely available.
Which begs the question: is Uganda prepared for an outbreak before a vaccine is developed? Steven Aisu, head of the Central Public Health Laboratories of Uganda, says yes. In fact, he’s preparing for an outbreak right now.
If you drive 45 minutes outside Uganda’s capital of Kampala, past the undulating hills overlooking a mix of modern concrete buildings and thatched-roof homes, eventually you’ll see something rather different: a new, multimillion-dollar glass and steel building containing Uganda’s best disease monitoring and testing services.
Funded by Uganda’s Ministry of Health and the Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the newly constructed Central Public Health Laboratories of Uganda is home to Uganda’s leading Ebola researchers including Aisu, a hematology specialist and key point of contact during outbreaks in the country.
Aisu has worked in the health field since 1980 and was one of the first to respond during Uganda’s major Ebola outbreak in 2001.
That outbreak, which infected 425 and killed 224 “took us by surprise” he said. But as the number of cases ebbed and flowed, Aisu and his team were able to learn more about the transmission of the disease and how to control it.
Aisu and his team eventually helped develop a surveillance system that escalates suspected cases from a district level to regional and countrywide platforms using an internal text messaging system.
“Now, if there’s anyone who falls sick with any kind of bleeding, the district notifies the surveillance department” he said.
Despite this surveillance network, Aisu said controlling viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks in Uganda remains difficult, particularly because of porous borders with countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo. So how often does Aisu receive a report about a possible Ebola outbreak? “Depends on the season” he said. “But at least once a month.”
Despite that frequency, Uganda has not actually faced a confirmed case of Ebola since January 2013 – a fact that makes Kiweewa optimistic an Ebola vaccine will arrive before another outbreak. “Some vaccine strategies are giving very positive results” he said. “So, I am very confident that an Ebola vaccine will be found soon.”
fonte www.usatoday.com

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CENTRAL AFRICA: KONY’S KILLERS – ARE CHILD ACCOUNTABLE WHEN THHEY BECOME MEN?
5 december 2016
The trial of Dominic Ongwen, a senior member of the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army, opens on Tuesday before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Many horrors will be recounted, but the case also throws up deep ethical questions: is a child, brutalised and turned into a killer, fully responsible for his or her actions? If the abuses of government forces aren’t also being investigated, at what point does it become victor’s justice?
Abducted by the LRA at the age of 10, Ongwen became a protégé of rebel leader Joseph Kony and was forced to witness and carry out acts of extreme violence. He will be appearing before Trial Chamber IX to answer 70 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. They include allegations of murder, rape, sexual slavery, torture, pillaging, and the conscription of children aged under 15 for combat.
It is the first time in the history of the ICC where the alleged perpetrator himself was a child soldier.
“I know it’s a delicate balance. It’s about accountability. It’s about whether Ongwen was responsible for the atrocities or not” Herman von Hebel, the ICC registrar, told reporters on Monday in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
Sympathy – In northern Uganda, epicentre of the two-decade-long insurgency, Ongwen is not uniformly thought of as a monster. Among many former LRA child soldiers, now back in their communities after amnesty and reconciliation programmes, there is sympathy.
Like Ongwen, they were forced to commit serious crimes, and some fault the government for not having protected them. “He is a victim and not an abuser” Thomas Otim, a former LRA combatant, told IRIN. “Ongwen, like many of us, had to obey and execute Kony’s orders. If he didn’t, he could have been killed… He should be forgiven and pardoned.”
Even some LRA victims agree with Otim. Sarah Angee lost her parents and relatives in an LRA attack in her northern home district of Amuru.
“As a victim and survivor, I have accepted to forgive Ongwen for the atrocities and suffering he caused” she told IRIN. “As a child soldier, he was conscripted and indoctrinated to kill, maim, rape women, mutilate, attack camps, abduct children, and other horrible atrocities.”
The LRA terrorised northern Uganda between 1987 and 2006. It emerged in the tumult of a divided Uganda, in which President Yoweri Museveni’s southern-based National Resistance Movement had fought its way to Kampala and overthrown the short-lived military rule of Tito Okello, an Acholi. Although the LRA was an Acholi-based movement, its victims were overwhelmingly from its own community.
In 2000, the government introduced a blanket amnesty for anyone who abandoned the group and renounced involvement in the war. Close to 30,000 took up the offer, but the government subsequently excluded the most senior commanders like Ongwen.
He is the only one of five indicted LRA figures to have surrendered, giving himself up in Central African Republic in January 2015. With the exception of Kony, the other three wanted men are believed to be dead.
Rather than the ICC’s retributive justice, Angee would like to see Ongwen pardoned and, like many of the ex-LRA who returned home, enrolled in a traditional Acholi reconciliation process known as Mato Oput.
“Let the ICC leave him to come back home and be given amnesty like other top LRA commanders. He will be cleansed and reconciled with the relatives and communities that he wronged and offended during the conflict through [our] local mechanism” she said.
Meeting Ongwen – But Betty Oyell Bigombe, a senior director at the World Bank who – as a state minister for northern Uganda – worked for years to broker an end to the conflict, disagrees with the notion of pardoning Ongwen.
“I met Ongwen during the peace talks. He was the most hostile. I was very scared of him” she told IRIN. “Ongwen can’t be left to get off scot-free. It’s true, Ongwen was abducted. It’s true, he was a victim. But, like so many others, he had an opportunity to defect. But he didn’t surrender for all those years. This raises a moral question. Why didn’t he? I am a stronger believer in forgiveness. But forgiveness has to have a limit. Forgiveness has to have reasons. Victims never really recover if justice is never there. It wouldn’t be good to see Ongwen in a suit driving a car and [the victims] have nothing” she said.
“Whatever comes out of it [the trial] can be discussed” she added. “[But] I also think this is important for the existence of the ICC. The ICC was created to protect the voiceless. It acts as deterrence so that any other person who has those intentions in future should know the consequences.”
Why mixed feelings? – Phil Clark, a Great Lakes expert at SOAS, University of London, believes victims’ feelings toward Ongwen are mixed, and filtered through their own experiences.
“Many victims I have interviewed say they have children just like Ongwen – children who were abducted but who committed horrific atrocities, including back in their home communities. These victims therefore hate the crimes Ongwen has committed, but are sympathetic to him because of the way he was forced into the rebel ranks” he told IRIN.
Lino Owora Ogora, a transitional justice and peace-building activist based in the main northern city of Gulu, agrees with Clark over the tangled emotions stirred by the case.
“The sentiments of victims towards forgiveness can also be explained by the fact that for a long time amnesty was promoted and embraced by the people as a means of ending the conflict” he noted. “Because many commanders who surrendered before Ongwen were granted amnesty, the people feel he also deserves amnesty.
Yes, I think the government politicised and manipulated the ICC in the war against the LRA. The government used the ICC to isolate the LRA from the international community and to officially label the LRA a terrorist organisation” said Ogora.
“How else can you explain the fact that today the same government that invited in the ICC in the first place is the same government that has turned into a bitter critic of the ICC, with President Museveni openly calling the ICC a ‘bunch of useless people’?”
But Clark also faults the ICC. “As part of the pre-referral negotiations, the ICC prosecutor promised the government there would be no investigations of state actors as long as the government cooperated with the court. The Ugandan government was only too willing to cooperate. This meant the ICC would target the government’s opponents such as the LRA while protecting the state from the threat of prosecution” he said.
“In the eyes of affected communities in northern Uganda, this immediately delegitimises the ICC” Clark suggested. “Local communities view both the LRA and the government as responsible for the atrocities they have suffered. Some communities even see government crimes as worse because the state – unlike rebels – is supposed to guarantee citizens’ protection and security.”
Government crimes – Ongwen’s call to the dock on Tuesday has prompted fresh calls for investigations into alleged crimes committed by the army, the Ugandan People’s Defence Force, during the long counter-insurgency war in the north, in which human rights violations were committed.
“We need a full accounting for the atrocities, where both parties involved in the conflict have to account. The absence of accountability from the UPDF side will always remain an issue if not addressed” said Joyce Freda Apio, a transitional justice expert.
“The heavy reliance by the Office of the Prosecutor on evidence gathered by Ugandan military intelligence raises concern if what is being pursued is the victor’s justice” she told IRIN.
Clark said that by ignoring government atrocities “for the sake of expediency”, the ICC had destroyed its reputation among the local communities.
“They see the court and the government as one and the same – and blame the court for protecting and even emboldening the state to continue committing crimes. For example, its violent crackdown against civilians in the three national elections held since the ICC intervened in Uganda.”
But Bigombe, the World Bank director and former state minister, sees that as disingenuous. “There have been complaints, but no organisation has communicated to [the] ICC and said, ‘Could you investigate UPDF as well?’ The ICC as an institution will not deal with outcries and rumours. If there was a letter or invitation to invite ICC to investigate the UPDF for their role in northern Uganda, I would be surprised if ICC turned their back.”
The Ugandan government referred the LRA case to the ICC in 2004 – alleged UPDF atrocities were not in the terms of reference. However, the government argues that it has always investigated allegations against its soldiers, and those found guilty have been punished harshly.
But there was also the government’s controversial strategy to force most of the population of the north into “protected villages”, a policy condemned by rights groups and local politicians.
Ongwen will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charges being brought against him on Tuesday. The court will then adjourn to 16 January, when the prosecution will begin presenting its evidence. It’s a case Ugandans will follow with rapt attention.
A decade on from leaving Uganda, the LRA now numbers just a few hundred, operating in the remotest regions of the Congo, CAR and Sudan, but the legacy of the group’s violence still casts a long shadow over people’s lives.
fonte allafrica.com – Samuel Okiror

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UGANDA, WHY THERE ARE INCREASED HIV INFECTIONS AMONG GILRS
6 december 2016
Twenty four-year-old Patricia Mugumya has been married for two years now. However, one year into her marriage, she learnt that her husband had another woman.
“When I told my mother about it, she told me to either abstain from sex with him or use a condom. I have so far managed to insist on using condoms. However, of recent, he has refused to sleep with me when I insist on using condoms.”
The mother of two adds, “While I am afraid of contracting HIV because I am not the only woman he is sleeping with, I do not know if my trick of using a condom will hold, given that his attitude has started changing.”
Mugumya is one of many women in Uganda who do not get to decide whether to use or not to use condoms. According to UNAIDS statistics, 66 per cent of the new HIV infections are of adolescent women aged between 15 and 24 and the lack of the right to negotiate for sex by the women is one of the causes of these increased infections.
Reasons for the high infections – Sarah Nakku, the community mobilisation and networking adviser, UNAIDS, explains: “When it comes to sexual interaction, the men negotiate for sex but if the woman is not interested, it is hard to say no, especially if they are married.”
Jotham Mubangizi, the strategic information adviser, UNAIDS Country Office, says, “We have been talking about the female and male condoms but who determines when and how to use it is an issue that has led to these increased infections.”
Nakku adds that the other challenge is that men have been left behind in the fight against HIV and the focus is on women, “Yet we know that a woman will make a decision in the home but the man will have to determine if it is enforced or not.”
In an earlier interview, Dr Zepher Ranyabokabo from Ministry of Health attributed this trend to cross-generation sex and sex for money relationships. “Go look at those posh vehicles parked at university girls’ hostels, those men are not picking or visiting their daughters but they are picking other people’s daughters” Dr Ranyabokabo said.
Advice – UNAIDS country director Sande Amakobe says, “The UN position is that given those statistics, all countries globally must adapt comprehensive approaches by looking at their context and come up with a comprehensive sexuality education programme that will tackle the statistics that are looking us in the face.”
Amakobe adds that sexual education must be age appropriate and it must be culturally sensitive. We need to tackle this problem in a comprehensive manner that is evidence-based and will get us to the core of the problem. If young people are acquiring HIV at these rates, we need to interrogate as a nation whether we will make the goal of ending Aids by 2030.
Solution – Mubangizi says the focus should be to see how to reduce new infections or to sustain them such that they do not increase.
“There is a potential that we can end HIV/Aids but what we need to do is a targeted combination intervention that reaches those that we are not able to reach. There is need to be able to find those that have not known their HIV status and are living with it so that they can be identified and enrolled for care.
Once they have been enrolled we need to ensure that they adhere and are retained on treatment because if we follow this, then the viral load will be reduced” Mubangizi explains.
Statistics – One in four teenage girls are either pregnant or they have had a child. Fifty eight per cent of adolescent girls have either experienced physical or sexual violence. UNAIDS country director, Sande Amakobe says most young people start having sex at the age of 12. “We hope that if we do great work, by 2020, we shall be able to go below the red line of 20,000 infections and by 2030, we shall not be talking about infection but we will be managing other side effects” she says.
fonte allafrica.com – Sarah Tumwebaze

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UN EX BAMBINO SOLDATO A PROCESSO PER I CRIMINI COMMESSI IN UGANDA
6 dicembre 2016
Carnefice o vittima? Dal 6 dicembre Dominic Ongwen, l’ex bambino soldato diventato uno dei comandanti dell’Esercito di Resistenza del Signore (Lra), il gruppo ribelle ugandese guidato da Joseph Kony, è sotto processo alla Corte penale internazionale (Cpi) dell’Aja. Ongwen, oggi poco più che quarantenne, deve rispondere di settanta capi d’accusa per crimini di guerra e contro l’umanità per il ruolo centrale che ha svolto nell’Lra. È il più grande numero di reati contestato a un singolo accusato.
La storia personale di Ongwen rende il suo caso unico. Prima di diventare uno dei capi della milizia, lui stesso ne subì la violenza. Fu rapito quando aveva circa dieci anni mentre tornava a casa da scuola, probabilmente fu costretto a sottomettersi a riti iniziatici estremamente cruenti e da allora ha vissuto in un clima di brutalità. L’obiettivo dell’Lra, la cui ideologia mescolava credenze tradizionali africane ed estremismo cristiano, era costruire uno stato fondato sui dieci comandamenti.
Un futuro incerto per la Cpi – Si stima che, da quando fu creata nel 1987 come movimento di rivolta contro il regime di Kampala, la milizia abbia ucciso più di centomila persone e rapito quasi sessantamila bambini, che dovevano servire i progetti del ‘messia’ Kony, aguzzino insensibile e paranoico. I ragazzi erano addestrati per diventare soldati mentre le ragazze erano usate come schiave sessuali. Oggi l’Lra può contare solo su 150 uomini, nascosti in piccoli gruppi nelle foreste dell’Africa centrale.
Tuttavia, all’inizio di questo atteso processo, “le nuvole si addensano sul futuro della Cpi”, osserva il quotidiano ugandese ‘The Independent’, ricordando che nelle ultime settimane tre paesi africani (il Sudafrica, il Burundi e il Gambia) hanno annunciato di volersi ritirare dal tribunale, accusato di prendere di mira i leader del continente.
Ma in un articolo sul quotidiano ‘Daily Nation’ George Kegoro, direttore esecutivo della commissione per i diritti umani keniana, sostiene che i rapporti tra i singoli stati africani e la Cpi saranno decisi paese per paese, a seconda delle varie questioni, e non ai vertici dell’Unione africana.
fonte www.internazionale.it

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UGANDA: HIV RATES STILL HIGH
6 december 2016
When it comes to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Uganda is classified as a high burden country by UNAIDS, the international agency that is at the helm of mustering a joint response to the disease.
High numbers of persons living with HIV remain despite three decades of a robust fight against infections. Experts say, apart from continuing spread of HIV, increased longevity among persons living with HIV contributes to high figures.
Dr. EliodaTumwesigye who has been involved in Uganda’s HIV/AIDS prevention programmes since 1991, says improved care for HIV/AIDS patients means the number of people who are dying is less. Provision of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ARTs) has widened from about 330,000 in 2011 to about 750,896 in 2014.
On the other hand, although the number of new cases has reduced, especially among children, there is a significant number of people with new infections. He blames sexual behaviour and practices that promote HIV transmission that have possibly not significantly changed.
“The number of people who practice unprotected sex is still high; condom use has not increased and people still have multiple sexual partners. Still, the prevalence rate should have fallen if everybody who is HIV positive were put on treatment as recommended by the World Health Organization” Dr. Tumwesigye told The Independent on Nov.28, “Unfortunately Uganda has not yet started that intervention.”
Tumwesigye says when you put HIV-infected people on treatment within six months, the amount of the virus in the blood and semen significantly reduces and the chances of transmission become relatively low.
The last two rounds of Uganda’s AIDS Indicator Survey show that HIV prevalence in the general population in Uganda increased from 6.4% in 2004/5 to 7.3% by 2011 among adults.
There are no new figures on prevalence but the resurgence in 2011 implied that about 1.6 million people are now living with HIV. Between the years of 2005 and 2013, the number of AIDS-related deaths in the country is reported to have decreased by an estimated 19% while AIDS related deaths reduced from 67,000 to 63,000 in 2010 and 2013 respectively.
But by the end of 2013, Uganda had 140,000 new cases of HIV infections, accounting for 70% of the world’s total increase – the third largest increase in any country.
In the East African region, according to a 2013 UNAIDS report, Uganda’s HIV prevalence – the number of people living with HIV (new cases added onto those already infected) at a specific point in time expressed as a percentage of the population – is the highest at 7.3%, followed by Kenya at 5.3%, Tanzania (3.0%) and Burundi (1.1%).
The report says young women in sub-Saharan Africa are particularly at risk of HIV-AIDS, with 75% of new infections among adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19. In 2013, HIV prevalence among young people aged 15-24 in Uganda was estimated at 4.2% for women and 2.4% men respectively.
The UNAIDS report noted that every week, at least 570 young women aged 15-24 get infected with HIV in Uganda. In Africa, Uganda is second to South Africa where 2,363 get infected with HIV over the same period, compared to 491 for Tanzania, 468 for Kenya, and only 25 for Rwanda.
But HIV prevalence also remains higher in key populations particularly sex workers (35%-37%); fisher folk (22%-29%), long distance truck drivers (25%), uniformed services personnel (18.2%) men who have sex with men (13.7%) and boda-boda taxi men (7.5%).
Sylvia Nakasi, the policy and advocacy specialist at the Uganda Network of AIDS Services Organizations (UNASO) told The Independent on Nov.24 that the rate at which young girls in the age bracket of 14-24 are getting infected with HIV is particularly alarming.
Health experts blame gender-based violence including sexual abuse and a lack of access by girls to education, health services, social protection and information about how they could cope with these inequities and injustices.
In 2013, the percentage of young women and men aged 15-24 who correctly identified ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV and who rejected major misconceptions about HIV transmission was at an estimated 38.9%.
At the close of 2013, the percentage of young women aged 15-24 who had had sexual intercourse before the age 15 was 13.1%. On the other hand, men in the same age bracket were estimated at 11.9%.
The risks and choices adolescent girls make are shaped by their early experiences, and radical transformations are required to break these barriers.
According to the new National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2015/16 – 2019/2020, the key drivers of HIV incidence in Uganda continue to revolve around high risk sexual behaviour, including early sexual debut, multiple sexual relationships, inconsistent condom use and transactional sex.
There also seems to be low individual level risk perception, high sexually transmitted infections prevalence, low utilization of antenatal care and delivery services, and low uptake of safe male circumcision services.
The future of HIV/AIDS in Uganda – Uganda’s response for the next five years is anchored in the global attempts to realise a 90% reduction in new adult infections, zero new infections among children, 90% reduction in stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV, and 90% reduction in AIDS related deaths.
Indeed the national HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2015/16 – 2019/2020’s goal is geared towards zero new infections, zero HIV and AIDS-related mortality and zero discrimination.
Denis Odwe, the executive director of the Action Group for Health, Human rights and HIV/AIDS in Uganda (AGHA-U) says when HIV prevalence fell almost a decade ago; it was a result of several communication campaigns focusing on the ABC model. “That seems to have waned a bit in recent years.”
Odwe told The Independent recently that the government and other stakeholders need to focus their HIV prevention interventions on key populations that are contributing mostly to the new HIV infections. He adds that it would also help if the right agencies were used to target the key populations.
But Tumwesigye told The Independent that it is not true that the government has, for instance, neglected the 14-24 age bracket. He says the interventions that could be effective for this age bracket are not easily implemented as is the case for babies and pregnant mothers.
In order for interventions to work for the youth, there is urgent need to change behaviour or identify those youth infected and provide them with youth friendly services including treatment.
“It is very clear that we have not been doing very well for programmes that promote behavioural change (abstinence, being faithful and even condom use). We need strong youth programmes, especially school programmes and counseling programmes and yet not many international funders are interested in supporting these interventions” he says.
He says the little money that is now available is for biomedical programmes and yet programmes like safe medical circumcision seem to have dropped in uptake in recent years.
Nakasi says there is need for the government to review their decision on comprehensive sex education in schools. “I don’t know why it [sex education] has been pegged to promotion of homosexuality” she said “but unless this is reviewed, Uganda’s HIV fight is going to get out of hand. Our girls are not being exposed to the risks around them and we are not equipping them with information on how to protect themselves or even the prevention strategies that exist.”
Nakasi says Uganda’s HIV response has somehow neglected this age group. “It is like pouring water in a basket with holes” she says, “We have taken care of them before they get out of the womb but then we also need to take care of them when they become teenagers.”
Nakasi adds that the government and other stakeholders are still not reaching out to the men who are using the young girls. “When you look at the government strategy, at the moment, the target is on pregnant women who come for antenatal care in health centres but the girls are sleeping with old men whom we are not reaching out to. The focus is on the pregnant women and leaving out the vulnerable youth” she says.
“At the moment, everything is on EMTCT (Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission) programme which actually is doing wonders but then why give birth to a safe kid only to see them get infected when they turn 14.”
But some experts on HIV also say ignorance and misunderstanding continue to undermine efforts to end AIDS. In the worst cases, discriminatory attitudes and behaviour are being facilitated by punitive laws and policies.
Odwe told The Independent that although the Parliament of Uganda passed the HIV Control and Prevention Act, 2014 which provides for positive attributes like reasonable care to avoid transmission, counseling and testing and medical practitioners mandated to take tests, this same law has some controversial clauses with the most contentious being the criminalisation of HIV transmission and mandatory HIV status disclosure.
He says such sections need to be repealed because they scare people away from going to health facilities to test and seek for treatment.
Odwe also adds that funding from Uganda’s development partners has been around 70% but fatigue seems to be setting in from the donors and the government now needs to fund the bulk of the HIV/AIDS programmes.
He says the National HIV/AIDS Trust Fund, which was intended to cover the gap, was supposed to have taken off in the 2015/16 financial year but it did not, owing to lack of regulations.
Tumwesigye who was the Minister of Health when the Fund was being proposed told The Independent that it stagnated mainly because there were issues on how it would be regulated and housed.
fonte allafrica.com – Ronald Musoke

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18.000 CHILDEN BLIND IN UGANDA
10 december 2016
Over 18,000 children in Uganda are blind, according to recent research finding by the Sightsavers Uganda.
Dr Johnson Ngorok, the Country Director Sightsavers made the revelation on Tuesday during the closing ceremony of the Implementation of the ‘Seeing is Believing Child Eye Health Project at the Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo.
“During Standard Chartered sponsored five-year initiative of the Seeing is believing campaign that was launched to carry out the initiative of making significant advances towards the elimination of blinding trachoma across the country, we found that the number is alarming” Ngorok said.
Ngorok said for many children treated during the project, half of these children had cataract problems. “Cataract can be corrected with an operation. We also found that 2% children had reflective error and needed glasses to stay in school” Ngorok emphasized.
He added that apart from this, children also had shortsightedness and allergies as the other eye problems. Ngorok attributed the eye problems to mostly being congenital factor among others.
Dr Naome Nsubuga of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, warned parents to be cautious and not ignore eye problems to save the sight of their children.
“When you realise your child tearing, eyes are red, he or she scratches the eyes, it is best you take them for early screening to save them the blindness where it can be corrected” Nsubuga said.
Hellen Komukama, a pupil of Uganda Marytrs Primary School Mbarara, said she had an eye problem that was corrected when she was given glasses.
“I was unable to see well , my father took me for screening, in March this year, and I got the corrective lenses. I can now see things on the blackboard and in  book which I would not previously” Komukama explained.
The Minister of Health Ruth Aceng in her speech read by principal medical officer Dr. Stanley Bubikire, said blindness is one of the major disabilities the country experiences. “Nearly 90% of the affected population lives in the rural areas and two thirds are women and girls are affected by blindness. It puts an increased social and economic strain to the affected individual” Achen said.
She added that the problem encourages the vicious cycle of poverty which in turn undermines initiatives aiming at prosperity for all.
According to Population and Housing census 2014 12.4%, people aged two and above are disabled. And that eye diseases are among the 10 top diseases in the country.
She also warned that the eye problems could multiply if no effective measures are taken soon. “Without cost effective interventions taken, the burden of blindness is expected to double by 2020.The life expectancy a blind person is reduced by five years” Aceng noted.
fonte www.newvision.co.ug – Saudha Nakandha

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NEL 2015 I NUOVI CASI DI MALARIA NEL MONDO SONO STATI 212 MILIONI, 429.000 I DECESSI
14 dicembre 2016
L’area più colpita dalla malaria rimane l’Africa subsahariana, con il 92 per cento di tutte le morti.
Secondo il rapporto dell’Oms, anche in questa regione sono stati fatti progressi. Lo scorso anno, infatti, oltre la metà della popolazione a rischio ha potuto far uso delle zanzariere trattate con insetticidi, contro il 30 per cento del 2010.
L’organizzazione pensa che l’obiettivo globale di ridurre del 40 per cento i nuovi casi di malaria entro il 2020 rispetto al 2015 sia raggiungibile, purché vengano accelerati i progressi.
fonte www.internazionale.it

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OMS: VACCINO CONTRO EBOLA EFFICACE AL 100%
14 dicembre 2016
Un vaccino d’origine canadese contro l’Ebola, la malattia che ha fatto oltre 11.000 morti in Africa occidentale, è stato giudicato avere “fino al 100 per cento” d’efficacia. Lo ha dichiarato l’Organizzazione mondiale della sanità (Oms) e il risultato della sperimentazione è stato pubblicato sulla rivista scientifica ‘The Lancet’.
Non c’è stato alcun caso di Ebola tra le 5.800 persone che hanno ricevuto lo scorso anno questa vaccinazione in Guinea. Questo suggerisce “fortemente che il vaccino è estremamente efficace e potrebbe avere un’efficacia fino al 100 per cento”, ha dichiarato la sub direttrice generale dell’Oms, Marie-Paule Kieny.
Secondo gli esperti, la vaccinazione che si chiama rVSV-Zebov in futuro potrebbe fermare eventuali epidemie di Ebola. Il virus ha già ucciso 11.300 tra il 2013 e il 2015 e questo sembra essere il primo passo importante per affrontare una malattia emersa nel 1976.
Il test – Il vaccino, sviluppato dal governo canadese è stato testato su persone che erano state in contatto con pazienti colpiti dal virus. Nell’arco di 10 giorni nessuna persona sottoposta alla sperimentazione si è ammalata. rVSV-ZEBOV è stato sperimentato in Guinea verso la fine dell’epidemia scoppiata nel 2014, con il metodo detto ‘dei cerchi concentrici’. Ad ogni nuovo caso venivano identificati i contatti più stretti e i ‘contatti dei contatti’, con ogni anello che conteneva circa 80 persone. Ad ogni anello veniva somministrata, agli adulti, la vaccinazione subito o dopo tre settimane in una prima fase del test. Mentre dopo la pubblicazione dei risultati preliminari il vaccino è stato offerto a tutti subito, anche ai bambini con più di sei anni. Nelle persone vaccinate subito, conferma lo studio, non c’è stato nessun nuovo caso, mentre in quelle vaccinate con ritardo 23 casi.
I bambini – Secondo i ricercatori, in piena epidemia è possibile che la vaccinazione funzioni al 90% nell’80% dei casi. “La protezione funziona poco dopo la vaccinazione, ma non sappiamo ancora se durerà nei sei mesi successivi”, ha aggiunto Kieny. Non è ancora chiaro se la vaccinazione possa funzionare sui bambini di meno di 6 anni e sulle donne in gravidanza.
Le dosi – Ci vorrà tempo prima che il vaccino venga approvato, ma, come fa saper il giornale francese Le Monde, dosi d’urgenza saranno disponibili, anche prima della commercializzazione. “Ebola ha lasciato un’eredità devastante nel nostro paese” afferma Keita Sakoba, direttore della National Agency for Health Security in Guinea. “Siamo orgogliosi di essere riusciti a contribuire allo sviluppo di un vaccino che impedirà ad altre nazioni di passare quello che abbiamo passato noi”.
Lo scorso gennaio il Gavi, l’alleanza mondiale sui vaccini, ha garantito a Merck, l’azienda che lo ha messo a punto, 5 milioni di dollari per continuare nelle pratiche per la registrazione, e come parte dell’accordo 300mila dosi saranno stoccate per essere usate in caso di emergenza.
fonte www.repubblica.it

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MALARIA DEATHS ON THE RISE – WHO REPORT
23 december 2016
Despite Uganda’s aggressive campaigns towards control and prevention of malaria over the years, the 2016 World Malaria Report shows that the number of people dying of the largely curable condition went up by a total of 179 people in the just one year from 5,921 in 2014 to 6100 in 2015.
The World Health Organisation report that was released early this week also shows that the country had the biggest share of malaria cases in the region at 18% compared to Tanzania (11%), Rwanda (8%) and Kenya (14%).
However, the Health Ministry’s Acting Director General, Prof. Anthony Mbonye attributed the ugly statistic to an outbreak that occurred during the period in review (2014-2015).
Last year according to Mbonye, the country experienced malaria outbreaks in at least 10 districts in northern Uganda and two others in the south western region (Kabale and Kanungu).
The condition he said has since been contained and the general performance especially in 2016 shows a decline in the incidence of malaria.
Ministry of Health statistics indicate that malaria incidence in children less than five years reduced from 42% in 2009 to the current 19%. In areas such as Kampala, the incidence has since been brought down to almost 1%.
Mbonye stressed that the major challenge that needs to be addressed is sustainability of the gains at the community level. This according to him takes both personal initiatives towards prevention.
Since 2015, Uganda has distributed a total of 25.3million insecticide treated mosquito nets. According to the Malaria Indicator Survey (2014-2015) up to 90% of households have at least one insecticide treated mosquito net.
However, in an earlier interview with Dr Myers Lugemwa of the National Malaria Control Programme(NMCP) argued that the biggest challenge remains on attitude change especially on the proper use of mosquito nets.
He has also put up a case for the controversial Internal Residual Spraying saying arguing that other than relying on an individual’s adherence to the use of mosquito nets, getting rid of the malaria parasites would have a higher impact in the fight against malaria.
In general, the report indicates an a growing decline in malaria related case in the region (East and Southern Africa) with an estimated malaria case incidence decreasing by 22% between 2010 and 2015. Death as a result of malaria also reduced by a similar percentage (22%) in the same period.
Though most countries in sub Saharan Africa heavily rely on donor funding for malaria interventions, this saw a decrease from US$ 156m to US$ 150m between 2010 and 2015.
Malaria according to the NMCP records is still a major public health challenge with hospital records showing that it’s responsible for 30 to 50% of outpatient visits, 15 to 20% of admissions, and 9 to 14 % of inpatient deaths.
fonte www.newvision.co.ug – Gloria Nakajubi

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THOUSAND OF SOUTH SUDANESE REFUGEES FLEEING INTO UGANDA
26 december 2016
The number of South Sudanese fleeing to Uganda continues to grow, with 7,046 new arrivals recorded in on 13 December, the United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) has said.
“Refugees who are newly arriving in Uganda – 86 per cent of whom are women and children – continue to face long and difficult journeys in their search for safety” OCHA said in a report extended to ‘Sudan Tribune’.
The majority of the refugees reportedly reach Uganda through informal border points, while over 4,000 arrived in Uganda via Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Renewed violence broke out between rival forces in the South Sudanese capital, Juba in July, forcing thousands to flee the young nation into its neighbouring countries.
According to the UN refugee agency, many refugees report that they are leaving South Sudan due to the deteriorating security situation, including fighting in Yei and Wonduruba areas, looting of properties, and rumours of upcoming attacks by armed actors in the Equatorias.
“In addition to those fleeing to Uganda, there are an increasing number of people fleeing to Kenya from areas such as Lainya, Wonduruba, Yei, Juba and Torit” it said.
Meanwhile, refugees arriving into Kenya told the UN humanitarian agency they chose the route as roads to the Ugandan border are increasingly dangerous, with armed actors harassing, robbing and targeting those fleeing.
Since July 2016, more than 394,500 South Sudanese have arrived in Uganda, bringing the total number of refugees there to over 584,000, OCHA further says in its new report. It added “There are now over 92,000 South Sudanese refugees in Kenya”.
Fighting and insecurity continue to cause displacement and rising humanitarian needs in the Greater Equatoria region.
In Central Equatoria, OCHA said it its report, internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yei town and surrounding areas remain unable to move freely because of checkpoints along the main roads, including to Juba, DRC and Uganda.
In Western Equatoria, there are an estimated 28,000 people displaced from Yambio, 16,000 displaced from Ezo, and 50,000 displaced from Mundri East, Mundri West and Mvolo.
fonte www.sudantribune.com

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