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IRIN PlusNews HIV/AIDS News and information service | East Africa | UGANDA: Public transport to be used to combat HIV/AIDS | Other | News Items
Friday 3 March 2006
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UGANDA: Public transport to be used to combat HIV/AIDS

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


One of 300 taxis that have been drafted into the fight against HIV/AIDS in the Gabonese capital Libreville. Uganda intends to adopt a similar strategy.

KAMPALA, 20 January (PLUSNEWS) - Uganda’s public transport system is set to become the latest vehicle to promote behaviour change in the country’s continued fight against HIV/AIDS, according to the ministry of health.

"We have developed a strategy, and we think we can work with the public transport system to raise awareness because thousands of people use these means [of transport] every day," Julius Byenkya, of the Uganda AIDS Control Programme told PlusNews.

The project will make use of the entire range of public transportation in the country, which is made up of large long distance buses, 15-seater mini-buses, cabs, motor cycles, known locally as "boda bodas", and water transport such as canoes and ferries.

Byenkya told PlusNews on Tuesday that the government aims to increase the public response to HIV/AIDS by using public transport vehicles as message boards for HIV/AIDS stickers and posters, and as distribution channels for condoms and information flyers.

"The main focus is behavioural change, because we have found that the majority of people know about HIV/AIDS, but many have failed to change their behaviour," he said, referring to Uganda’s HIV/AIDS awareness level of over 98 percent.

Uganda has led an aggressive anti-AIDS campaign, which has seen national infection rates drop from as high as 30 percent in the early 1990s, to below six percent in 2004. In the 23 years since the first case of the disease was diagnosed in the country, over one million people have died from AIDS related complications.

The strategy includes the recruitment of public transport operators, such as drivers and conductors, as peer educators. Byenkya also said educational and entertaining drama series, recorded on audio cassettes, would be played in passenger vehicles.

The use of taxis as a means of HIV/AIDS education has recently been employed in Gabon, where Libreville’s red and white cabs distribute free condoms and information leaflets to passengers, and are emblazoned with HIV/AIDS slogans. Since its inception in Gabon last November, taxi drivers report that the campaign has been a big hit with passengers, particularly the youth.

In a related development, a high level delegation drawn from the United Kingdom, Norway, UNAIDS and the World Bank arrived in Uganda on Tuesday for a two-day visit to gain a better understanding of the country’s success in combating HIV/AIDS, and identify areas of its strategy that could be replicated elsewhere in the world.


Recent UGANDA Reports
Global fund lifts ban on AIDS grants,  11/Nov/05
Inquiry starts into mismanagement of AIDS funds,  14/Sep/05
Government to probe use of anti-AIDS grants,  26/Aug/05
Global fund suspends anti-AIDS grants,  24/Aug/05
ARV targets achieved ahead of schedule,  20/Jul/05
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.

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