UNAIDS together with Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF), Aids Information Centre (AIC), Uganda Aids Commission (UAC) and Infectious Disease Institute (IDI) have launched the ‘Box HIV & AIDS Out of Uganda’ Campaign.
The campaign, as its name suggests, is intended to eradicate Aids in the country.
While speaking during the launch held at Kati Kati restaurant on Monday in Kampala, UBF President Moses Muhangi, in his opening remarks noted:
“We are joining this campaign in a bid to reduce HIV infections in Uganda. This is one of the key elements of the presidential fast track initiative to end AIDS in Uganda and reducing HIV infections and deaths among men.”
It should be remembered that on June 6, 2017, His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni launched the Presidential Fast-Track Initiative to end AIDS as a public health threat in Uganda by 2030.
In 2017, an estimated 1.3 million people were living with HIV, and an estimated 26,000 Ugandans died of AIDS-related illnesses, a report confirmed.
“Sports is an important entry point and Boxing is a significant opportunity to reach young men with HIV,” started DR Karusa Kiragu, country Director UNAIDS.
“We urge multi sectoral commitment to ensure viral suppression. This should be go hand in hand with comprehensive leadership for sustainable programs , especially domestic funding.”
The move will be an influential channel for young men and women to know their HIV status, in order to get the treatment, care and support they need.
Dr. Andrew Kambugu, the Director of the Research Program at the Infectious Diseases Institute noted that: “As a boxing fan, this is like a pay per view event where Uganda is in one corner and HIV is at the other end. We are in the 11th round.
We are previlledged to be in this partnership. We have been in trenches fighting HIV, and and we dont want to lose this fight.”
It is believed that the campaign has the potential to reach atleast 3500 boxers, 70 coaches, 70 referees and 70 club owners and administrators.
It will also reach the 200+ schools in Kampala that have boxing activities. The first phase will focus on management of UBF, club owners, opinion leaders in boxing such as coaches, referees and school games masters .
During phase II, the program will out to the 3500 boxers and their fans, with a potential of reaching nearly 10,000 persons each time the 35 clubs hold an event. Phase 3 will incorporate the 200+ schools.
Outreach to the boxers will be in their various gyms spread around Kampala.
The Campaign will encourage 90% or more of the UBF management know their own HIV status, and have a plan to sensitize and protect their boxers from HIV status, and have a plan to sensitize and to protect their boxers from HIV.
This will also include students in Primary, Secondary and University settings.
Workships for club coaches, Club owners and administrators, referees and judges, games teachers and sports tutors.
Sensitisation activities will begin on Wednesday 28th November to 5th December.