Security Tightened As Clinton Arrives In Uganda

Clinton will join President Museveni, senior officials from the Ministry of Health, UN Health agencies, representatives of leading non-governmental organizations, and business leaders at National Medical Stores to support an ambitious effort to end diarrhoeal deaths among Ugandan children by increasing access to the most effective treatment – zinc and Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS).

The event will initiate the implementation of new steps to rapidly increase use of these treatments through both public and private health channels.

Clinton last visited Uganda in 1998. He was accompanied by his wife Hillary Clinton.

Police and Special Forces Group (SFG), an elite force that protects the President and his family, has tightened security in Entebbe where National Medical Stores are located.

Most roads leading to the facility have been blocked by security operatives.

An estimated 8, 500 child deaths will be averted each year if the national goal of increasing coverage of ORS to 80% and zinc to 40% by 2015 is achieved, as outlined in the national Child Survival Strategy.

Inexpensive medicines are preventing an estimated 9,000 child deaths each year in Uganda currently, and 8,500 additional deaths can be prevented each year if scale-up targets achieved.


Currently, diarrhea is one of the leading killers of children under five in Uganda with over 14,000 children dying each year.

Zinc and ORS are able to prevent over 90% of diarrhea-related deaths, but less than 5% of children are currently using the complete treatment.

Given the high effectiveness and affordability of zinc and ORS, increasing their use is one of the key pillars in Uganda’s extraordinary effort to reduce diarrhea and child mortality.

Treatment of diarrhea is an essential component of the comprehensive national effort to reduce diarrhea mortality, which also involves efforts to enhance hygiene; provide clean water; and introduce the rotavirus vaccine.

Compared to other more expensive and complex treatments, zinc and ORS are affordable and easy to scale.

The Copenhagen consensus, a project that ranks global welfare priorities, rated it as one of the top buys of social impact.

It also ranks among the most cost effective health investments when considering cost-per-life-saved.

Uganda’s efforts come on the heels of a growing global commitment to this cause. The scale-up effort will pursue several of the recommendations of the recent United Nations Commission on Life- Saving Commodities, chaired by the Nigerian and Norwegian Heads of State, which developed a set of high impact interventions to rapidly increase access to zinc and ORS and other essential medicines.

Additionally, the Child Survival Call to Action in Washington DC in June 2012 featured a global declaration to end preventable diarrhea deaths. The IKEA Foundation has also recently partnered with the Clinton Health Access Initiative to support zinc and ORS scale up efforts in Kenya and India with more than $20 million.

No one government, organization or company could achieve this progress alone. Scaling up zinc and ORS treatment requires an intensive, simultaneous effort by public and private partners alike.

Background on Diarrhea Treatment Efforts to Date

In pursuit of the fourth Millennium Development Goal to reduce child mortality, the Ugandan Ministry of Health has made progress in expanding access to essential medicines for children.

Amongst other interventions, the Ministry of Health and partners have implemented Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM), increasing access to medicines for diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria for children at the community level. National Medical Stores has also introduced ‘last-mile’ delivery, delivering drugs directly to all health centres.

For diarrhea specifically, the Ministry of Health has listed zinc as ‘Vital’ in the updated Essential Medicines List, the highest categorization for a drug. In recognition of this, the National Medical Stores has introduced zinc as part of its Essential Medicines Kit, which goes to all lower-level health facilities, drastically expanding access to appropriate diarrhea treatment.

These efforts lay a strong foundation for continued progress in the national effort to reduce diarrhea mortality amongst children in Uganda.

About Clinton Health Access Initiative

The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) began its work by addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis and strengthening health systems in the developing world.

CHAI, under the leadership of local governments and by working with key partners, is leading the way in developing life-changing programs that improve markets for medicines and diagnostics, lowering the cost of and expanding access to treatments, and building stronger health care infrastructure in underserved countries.

CHAI creates and implements these programs with a sustainable model so that the governments they collaborate with will eventually maintain them.

CHAI has expanded this model to increase access to treatments for malaria, diarrhea, and tuberculosis, to accelerate the rollout of new vaccines, and to lower maternal, child, and infant mortality.

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