Country Director’s remarks at the launch of the Uganda AIDS Accountability Scorecard and CSO Accountability Framework
The Chairman, Uganda AIDS Commission,
The Director General, Uganda AIDS Commission,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I am pleased to join you today as we launch the National HIV Score Card report and Accountability Framework for CSOs.
On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Joint Program on HIV and AIDS, I would like to register our gratitude to the Government of Uganda, and in particular, the Uganda AIDS Commission, Ministry of Health and the Local Government for spearheading the fight against HIV and AIDS in Uganda.
In the 1990’s Uganda was a champion in responding to HIV globally through leadership and community engagement. At the local level, the unprecedented success hinged on key pillars of leadership, commitment, participation, transparency, decentralized response and accountability. As a result of this multi-pronged approach, Uganda registered significant success in the fight against HIV and AIDS from 18.5% in 1992 to 6.7% in 2009. The national response led by the Government, together with the Civil Society Organizations such as Uganda Network on AIDS Service Organization (UNASO) led to a decline in HIV prevalence and incidence.
But while Uganda may earlier on have been well under way to reverse or halt the spread of HIV, the situation today is deteriorating. HIV prevalence has gone up to 7.3% in 2011 with an estimate of 120,000 new infections registered each year due to limited commitment, participation and transparency among others. This is creating a big threat to the country’s progress in development and we need to take note of it.
The 2013 Millennium Development Goal Progress Report for Uganda, which we jointly launched last year with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, shows a reversal of the gains that had been made in the HIV/AIDS fight. It is now clear, it is going to be a very tight race for Uganda as we draw nearer to the close of the Millennium Development Goals.
Development partners including UNDP have continued to provide support to HIV / AIDS control programmes in an effort to mitigate the Impact of the HIV epidemic. At UNDP, we believe in empowering lives to create resilient communities that provide information and knowledge that can support policy and programme design and influence good public health practices like transparency and accountability.
Globally, UNDP has continued to play a leading role in the response to HIV/AIDS, first, as a co–sponsor of UNAIDS; and as a major partner of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. We support policies, programmes, and learning that link action against HIV/AIDS. In this effort, we appreciate the initiative taken by UNASO, in collaboration with Uganda AIDS Commission, the Ministry of Health and Local Governments for coordinating the development of the first National HIV and AIDS Accountability Score Card to provide a better understanding of the efforts done by the different players in addressing the HIV response.
The score card provides an opportunity to increase community participation, accountability as well as transparency among service providers and decision makers. In this regard, it presents prospects for improving the quality of services delivered both at the National level and at the community level in effectively responding to the challenge of HIV.
As I conclude, let me emphasize that the task of reversing HIV and AIDS in Uganda is still enormous. We need to put more effort in promoting transparency and accountability mechanisms in the country and this can only be done with concerted effort from government, civil society organizations and the community at large.
UNDP is committed to supporting the national HIV response and will continue to provide technical and financial assistance towards mitigating new infections and advocating for the principle of rights. We will also support enhanced governance in the response and lay emphasis on mainstreaming HIV/AIDS into budgets, policies, accountability processes and facilitating availability of data.
Thank you for your attention.