Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Health ministry to use football in fight against HIV

Museveni to Launch “Protect the Goal” HIV/AIDS Campaign

Ministry of Health yesterday launched a new HIV/Aids campaign of using football and others sports to fight new infections and also encourage blood- testing among the young population.
The campaign dubbed: “Protect the Goal Campaign,” will be implemented by the Ministry of Health, Uganda Aids Commission, United Nations Population Fund, UNAIDS, World Health Organisation, Federation of Uganda Football Associations and Ugandan musicians.

President Museveni scoring the goal

Opendi said aware of the rising prevalence of HIV in our Country, now at 7.3% and the more recent evidence which indicates that the annual number of new HIV infections is substantially high among the young people, it is pertinent that Uganda launches and rolls out this Global HIV campaign to the entire country to increase awareness, emphasize prevention and scale up treatment.

“The campaign will use the popularity and convening power of sports to unite Ugandans towards the goal of an AIDS-free generation. It will also raise awareness around HIV prevention and encourage young people and all Ugandans to get actively involved in both the national and global response to HIV and support the UNAIDS’ ambitious target of 90-90-90 by 2020,”opendi noted.

The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV
 
 
She further explained, “This target aims at ensuring that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.”

She added that the Slogan for the campaign is; “This is your game, Do not let AIDS score”. It makes an analogy between goalkeepers protecting their goal and people protecting themselves against HIV.
Opendi revealed that His Excellency the President of Uganda- Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will preside over the National Launch of the Campaign which will take place at the Nelson Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, on the 9th of November 2014, beginning at 10.00am.

“He is also expected to participate in a curtain raiser Football match between Cabinet and Members of Parliament/Partners. This event will also feature Micheal Sidibe, the UNAIDS Executive Director.”

The campaign is being implemented globally and was first launched during the 2010 soccer world cup finals in South Africa and early this year in Brazil.

It was started by UNAIDS executive director  Michel Sidibe as an advocacy initiative to use the power of sports in order to attracts millions of people to bring HIV into public domain.

Ministry of Health and Partners in collaboration with Federation of Uganda Football Association have invited the Ethiopian National Team to play a friendly match with the Ugandan Cranes as a climax of the activities of that day.

As part of the mobilization for this big event, a number of renowned Ugandan Artists led by Bebe Cool, will be performing as part of their social responsibility to mobilize youth for HIV services and be part of the Global action against HIV/AIDS.

Artist; Bebe Cool will be performing to mobilize youth

Dr. Jane Aceng, the director general of health services added that 70 percent of the 137,000 HIV infections reported every year are among youth aged between 15 and 25 years.

Present were Prof. Vinand Nantulya the chairman of Uganda AIDS Commission, Musa Bungudu the UNAIDS country representative, Dr. Joshua Musinguzi the AIDS Control Programme manager, local artist Bebe Cool and Edgar Watson the FUFA chief executive officer.