Uganda AIDS Accountability Scorecard Launched
A new scorecard that rates the degree to which Government of Uganda is fulfilling its commitment to respond to the AIDS epidemic has been launched.
The Uganda AIDS Accountability Scorecard, the first of its kind in the country, was launched on Wednesday April 30th by the Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations (UNASO) at Hotel Africana, in Kampala.
Presenting the findings of the Scorecard, Bharam Namanya, the Executive Director, UNASO, said access to life-saving HIV/AIDS treatment for both adults and children has improved as well as that of Tuberculosis. For instance, the number of Ugandans accessing Anti-Retroviral treatment increased from 329,060 (57 per) to 577,000 (76.5 per cent) between September 2011 and September 2013. Findings also reveal that the majority of respondents are happy with the performance of other interventions particularly, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT), and Safe Male Circumcision (SMC).
The assessment however, shows the performance of adolescent treatment, social support and systems interventions still lagging behind while infrastructure and other facilities in many health centres across the country remain dilapidated. Cases of broken beds, lack of running water and few toilets were reported, as is the lack of ambulances in health facilities. Other challenges highlighted by the Scorecard include, low male involvement in PMTC efforts, weak data management, and high staff attrition and transfer rates.
Key recommendations include the need to standardise HIV/AIDS messages, integrating gender in to all programmes, provision of supplementary feeding to mothers living with HIV and their babies, and use of peer mothers to increase adherence.
“One distinct element of the score card is that it generates an open minded and critical forum which favours everyone to take part in the scoring process,” noted Mr Namanya.
The scorecard is a response to a recommendation made in a report that assessed governance and accountability mechanisms for HIV and AIDS in 2012. UNDP provided overall financial support to the Scorecard while a 15-member Technical Working Group (TWG) appointed by the Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) offered technical oversight of the process which lasted from September to December 2013.
Officiating at the launch, UNDP Country Director, Almaz Gebru, called for inclusion of additional elements left out of the Scorecard to refine it, and the use of UNICEF Uganda’s U-Report – an SMS-based mobile phone tool - to mobilise community support and monitoring of HIV/AIDS interventions. She pledged UNDP’s support for subsequent Scorecards to help guide rating and monitoring HIV/AIDS efforts in the future.“The Scorecard can help influence decisions, policy, and resource allocations and ensure that our leaders are held accountable for decisions and actions taken,” she added.
Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) Board Chairperson, Professor Vinand Nantulya, described the scorecard as, “an opportunity to improve service delivery and offers a platform for communication between health service users and the service providers. It underscores immediate response and joint decision-making”.
The Scorecard is the result of a comprehensive consultative process involving beneficiaries of health services such as people living with HIV, most-at-risk populations (MARPs), persons with disabilities (PWDs) young people, health service providers, community leaders, as well as civil society representatives. It assessed the HIV and AIDS response at community level in 14 districts across Uganda, and offers insight in to the efforts of the different players in addressing the epidemic.
Eight key elements required for an effective national response to AIDS were assessed, namely: Data Collection, Focus on Most-at-Risk Populations, Treatment, Prevention, Coordination, Civil Society, Financing and Human Rights Mainstreaming based on the performance indicators of Uganda’s National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2011/12-2014/15.
Also at the launch, UNASO flagged off a new Accountability Framework for AIDS Service Organisations in Uganda, a tool aimed at helping CSOs to enhance internal accountability, governance and transparency to build capacity to support the HIV and AIDS sector in Uganda.
An estimated 1.3 million Ugandans aged 15 to 49 are currently living with HIV and prevalence has continued to rise from 6.4 per cent in 2004/2005 to 7.3 per cent in 2011.
UNASO, with a membership of over 2,000 CSOs, provides a platform for advocacy, coordination, networking, capacity building and information sharing among civil society AIDS service organizations (ASOs) to improve on the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of service delivery in Uganda.
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The Uganda AIDS Accountability Scorecard
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