UNDP’s work with HIV/Aids is on two fronts. We support measures to reduce the prevalence of HIV, and, help people living with HIV to live positively and achieve their full potential. This has largely been through working for a formulation of national and sub-national policies to addressing pressing HIV/Aids concerns.
Uganda has seen a recent surge in HIV infections, with the prevalence rate jumping up to 7.3 percent in 2011 from 6.4 percent in 2005, according to the Uganda Aids Indicator Survey, 2011. Prevalence is higher among women, at 8.3 percent and lower in men, at 6.1 percent. It is also highest in the age group of people between 35 and 39 years old.
HIV has bore strong effects on Uganda, especially its economy. According to a 2008 report, Assessing the Macro-Economic impact of HIV/AIDS in Uganda, the economy will be 39 percent smaller than it would have been by 2025 if efforts to mitigate the effects of HIV/Aids are not stepped up. This is a result of effects on the country’s labour force and the high costs families incur to provide therapy to infected people.
Our Priority Focus
UNDP has supported local governments to integrate HIV/Aids policies in their work. Although the Local Government Act of 1997 mandated local governments to mainstream HIV/Aids in their plans and budgets, very few urban local governments had done so. Reasons cited for this were that they did not understanding the concept of mainstreaming and having no skills, as well as lacking guidelines on how to mainstream.
With UNDP support, the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/Aids in Africa (AMICAALL) developed a tool kit for mainstreaming HIV/Aids into local governments. It relates problems of HIV to key development issues like gender, human rights, and poverty and provides a framework on how urban local governments can prioritize and implement issues of HIV and Aids in their policies and development programmes in different sectors and among their partners.
Trainings were held for various local government leaders on how they could implement the integration of HIV/Aids into their work. These trainings addressed such issues as absenteeism, increased workload and a high staff turnover due HIV/Aids-related sickness. These meetings came up with strategic action avenues such as developing an HIV/Aids work policy to encourage testing and counselling and using condoms, vocational training for orphans, teach communities about circumcision and supporting infected and affected staff.
UNDP has also supported Government’s efforts to assess the macro economic impact of HIV/Aids. This is informed by the argument that HIV/Aids has devastating consequences on Uganda’s economic development, which consequences will likely be felt in the future due to the impact of skill losses.
Similar to other countries in the region, UNDP in Uganda works very closely with UNAIDS, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, to mainstream attention to HIV and health into action on gender equality, poverty reduction and the broader efforts to achieve and sustain the Millennium Development Goals. This includes working with government to understand the social and economic factors that play a crucial role in impacting health, and promoting specific action on the needs and rights of women and girls as they relate to HIV.
Some of the key achievements in this area include:
- Trained local government leaders on integration of HIV/Aids in their policies.
- Enabled local government leaders to come up with possible actions to address HIV/Aids in their communities.
- Carrying out and releasing a study assessing the macro-economic impact of HIV/Aids on Uganda.
- Integration of HIV/Aids into the Poverty Eradication Plan.