The newly launched midterm progress report has shown that by the end of 2019, Uganda became one of 14 countries in the world to reach early attainment of UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals to eliminate new infections of HIV by 2030.
The 90-90-90 target aims to ensure that 90% of all people living with HIV know their status, 90% of all people diagnosed receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 90% of all people receiving ART have viral suppression, all by 2020.
Titled ‘Enhancing Laboratory Capacity to Combat HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, viral hepatitis B and other emerging Infectious Diseases in Uganda’ the report was supported by a public-private partnership signed by the ministry of health and Abbott.
Speaking at the launch, the Director of General Services at the ministry of health, Henry G Mwebesa noted that the agreement activities were implemented by the Uganda National Health Laboratory and Diagnostic Services (UNHLS) and Lifecare Diagnostics of Uganda.
The main objectives of this partnership, he added, were to support Uganda National laboratory services in tracking health care diagnostic commodities through a supply chain pipeline from manufacturers to the last men, and also access utilization of diagnostics at health facilities to promote efficiency and interventions have been going on since 2018.
The minister of health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng noted that the country has registered significant success in strengthening diagnostics and treatment capacity for the bulk of the communicable diseases that affect the population.
“Our viral load testing programs have enabled over 92% coverage,” she said
She noted that the collaboration has strengthened HIV testing services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs including early infant diagnosis that have contributed to the significant decline in prenatal HIV transmission in Uganda. She added,
“More recently, the programme has added Hepatitis B testing in antenatal care as part of the triple elimination plan for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis among children. I am glad to inform you that Uganda is among the 14 countries in the world that to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target,” she said.
Likewise, Dr Joshua Musinguzi, program manager of AIDS Control Programme at Ministry of Health, noted that, there has been significant success in regards to testing, linkage to ART and Viral load suppression.
“We now have HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment tools to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. To do this, we will need additional resources and their more efficient utilization,” he added.
Abbott’s Bassem Bibi, division Vice President, Middle East and Africa noted that Abbott and Uganda share a common vision for the future of healthcare.
“We are both committed to leveraging and avail the diagnostics to support democratization, decentralization and digitization of healthcare in order to improve healthcare outcomes,” he said.
He explained that by democratization, it means making tests more affordable and accessible so that people can be tested.
“By decentralization, we mean bringing quality healthcare closer to home, so that no one has to take off time to travel long distances to get lifesaving treatment. Digitization is the use of data in and connectivity for real time reporting and analysis of trends,” he said.