The Nabagereka of Buganda, Sylvia Nagginda Tuesday launched the Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (EMCT) Option B+ programme to protect unborn babies.
Launching the programme at Bulange in Mengo, Nagginda said the campaign will promote the fight against HIV and reduce the high prevalence rate in central region.
“With this campaign, we don’t lose any more children to HIV. I call upon cultural leaders in the kingdom to start sensitizing and creating awareness among their people to promote the program,” she noted.
Nabagereka said leaders in different areas must encourage women to go for testing with their husbands at various health facilities to know their sero status and start medication early to protect the unborn babies.
“The program is at every public health facility funded by the government for free. I also encourage the youth to go for safe male circumcision and to behave responsibly because circumcision is not a cure,” she noted.
Nabagereka thanked the ministry of health and other development partners for promoting the program.
The minister for state for primary health, Sarah Opendi said about 14,500 children were born HIV positive in 2011.
She said government is committed to working with Buganda to achieve an AIDS-free generation. “The 14,500 children are those born in our recommended health facilities but many mothers give birth from different areas where we don’t have records,” she said.
She stressed that Option B+ marks the beginning of a new era in the struggle against HIV prevention, care and treatment.
The director general of health services in the ministry of health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said over 2, 000 government health facilities are already offering Option B+ for free country wide.
“We have rolled out this program to the entire country and it is free. We don’t see anyone failing to get treatment. We are grateful that Buganda has embraced the program and we expect positive results in two years not ten as we had projected,” Aceng noted.
The USAID representative, Prince Musa Bungudu urged development partners to support cultural institutions to promote the programme.