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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 278, 7 April 2006

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


UGANDA: Global Fund probe reveals massive graft
UGANDA: Abstinence - the safest or most dangerous HIV strategy?
LESOTHO: Guidelines to help OVC caregivers
UGANDA: New policy keeps HIV-positive people out of armed forces
LESOTHO: 'Know your status' drive needs $12.5m and people's cooperation



UGANDA: Global Fund probe reveals massive graft

An ongoing probe into the misuse of money from the Global Fund on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Uganda has unearthed a "pile of filth" in the running of affairs in the East African country, according to James Ogoola, head of the commission of inquiry.

Following the suspension in August 2005 of five grants worth US $367 million, questions had arisen regarding the fund managers' integrity.

Although the Global Fund lifted its suspension in November 2005 - after agreeing with the government on ways to overhaul the management of the fund - President Yoweri Museveni ordered a judicial inquiry into the use of the money. Since the launch of the investigation, the commission has heard allegations of inflated expenses, false receipts and misallocation of money, leading Ogoola to dub the management of the funds "a pile of filth".

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UGANDA: Abstinence - the safest or most dangerous HIV strategy?

Pumping his fists in the air, Pastor Martin Ssempa strides up and down the stage at one end of a swimming pool at Uganda's Makerere University, where thousands of students listen excitedly to the evangelist's simple message: HIV/AIDS kills - If you want to guarantee yourself 100 percent protection, abstain.

The occasion is 'Prime Time at the Pool', a weekly abstinence rally held at the country's largest and most prestigious university.

"Sex is something so sweet ... but the greatest sex can only be enjoyed in marriage," says Ssempa, insisting that abstinence has always played a greater role than condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

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LESOTHO: Guidelines to help OVC caregivers

A rapidly increasing population of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Lesotho has forced the government and NGOs to draw up guidelines for their care.

The 'Residential Care for Vulnerable Children and Youth Guidelines and Standards' was "critical" to ensuring the safety of OVC at the hands of their caregivers, said Bertrand Duemollins, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) resident representative in Lesotho.

"The roadmap is now set; we now envisage a strong coordination and increased support to ensure that all places of safety will be able to implement these new standards."

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UGANDA: New policy keeps HIV-positive people out of armed forces

The Ugandan army will no longer recruit HIV-positive people, the spokesman for the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF), Maj Felix Kuraije, said on Monday.

The UPDF's decision to stop recruiting HIV-positive individuals was made on "humanitarian grounds", because "we shall not recruit an HIV-positive person and expose him or her to the strenuous training that a person with such an ailment cannot manage", according to Kuraije.

"It is a requirement now that someone undergoes a thorough medical check before recruitment. We check for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes."

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LESOTHO: 'Know your status' drive needs $12.5m and people's cooperation

The success of Lesotho's plan to increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment will depend on a national commitment to being tested for the virus and a R75 million (US $12.5 million) financial boost.

Motloheloa Phooko, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, said at a press conference on Wednesday that "the money needed will be used in the two years of the campaign to mobilise people to know their status - but getting the money alone will not make the campaign a success unless Basotho [Lesotho people] own up to the programme and get tested".

Lesotho's 'Know Your Status' campaign, the first of its kind worldwide, will offer confidential and voluntary HIV testing and counselling with the aim of reaching all households by the end of 2007.

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Recent AFRICA Reports
More proof that a snip in time could save men from HIV,  13/Dec/06
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 313, 8 December 2006,  8/Dec/06
Positive prevention,  7/Dec/06
AIDS 'paradigm shift' in life insurance,  5/Dec/06
Hitting the target? New study explores HIV/AIDS information needs,  1/Dec/06
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

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