By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Disabled persons living with HIV/AIDs in Kampala have decried the heavy centralization of HIV care services in urban areas, stigma and lack of jobs which have made life for them unbearable.
The remarks were made as Tunaweza Foundation, an NGO that works in communities to enhance equal opportunities for PWDs launched a one-year project titled: “Enhancing the PWD HIV response perspectives.”
The intervention funded by PEPFAR small grants and the US Mission targets 150 beneficiaries in Kawempe division, Kampala. The project has a funding of Shs 52 million.
The project seeks to ensure inclusive HIV/AIDS care and counselling for PWDs.
Speaking to the Nile Post shortly after the launch of this initiative, Laura Kanushu Opori, MP for PWDs said that the perception that people with disabilities are not sexually active is one of the biggest challenges why PWDs are living with HIV.
“We need to tackle the issue of access to information for PWDs in regard to sexual and health reproductive issues specifically for the women. As MPs we are committed to any policy or legal issues that you may want us to front. Let’s make sure that the laws we have passed work. Let’s make sure they bite. Let’s make sure hospitals have provision for people with disabilities,” she said.
Victo Nalule, the executive director Tunawea Foundation, said the initiative taken will ensure targeted beneficiaries receive inclusive and appropriate HIV related services.
“Leaving no one behind, is what the Tunaweza foundation is all about. It is what we are striving for today to ensure people living with disabilities have better access to HIV care and related services,” she said.
Mary Borgman, the Country coordinatorPEPFAR said the intervention has potential to boost the quality of life for people living with disabilities as well as those with HIV/AIDs.
A 2020 report by the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development and household surveys indicate that 8.5 per cent of Ugandans have a disability.
And according to TASO’s client register, there are more than 15,000 PWDs in Kampala and Wakiso enrolled into HIV care. This number does not cover people that attain their HIV care from other entities or even in other districts.