By Andrew Irumba
The Uganda Aids Commission has called upon all religious leaders in Uganda to join the fight against the spread of the killer HIV/AIDS virus.
The Commission recently embarked on a new campaign to mobilise religious leaders to broaden HIV control messages, among their congregation, since they often get opportunities to often to various groups of people during their pastoral works.
Michael Matsiko, the Uganda Aids Commission South Western Regional Coordinator, said they are seeking to tap into the influence that religious leaders wield, to amplify HIV responses in communities.
Matsiko said “Ongoing efforts towards eliminating HIV are seemingly presenting slow progress in some areas, and frustrating the ultimate target of registering zero new infections by 2030.”
He added that “Despite the recent reduction in the national HIV prevalence rate from 7.3 to a percentage of 6 per cent, the HIV incidence rate has remained high especially in the Central region.”
Matsiko noted that the Commission has considered renewing its partnership with the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda-IRCU to remobilize structures of the different faith institutions to reenergize their stances in the HIV response campaign.
He also revealed that they are now seeking to empower religious leaders at all levels with knowledge and capacities to further integrate HIV prevention messages into their regular sermons.
Charles Sserwanja, the head of the Health Department at (Inter-religious Council of Uganda) IRCU, said they have now worked out a simplified pastoral letter which will act at as a reference document for religious leaders as they go out to spread the campaign messages to their congregations.