The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) on Thursday launched a commander’s sensitization notebook on HIV/AIDS to sensitize soldiers about the epidemic.
The book also contains information about COVID-19, malaria and public health concerns.
Brig Dr Stephen Kusasira, who represented UPDF Chief of Medical Services Maj Gen Ambrose Musinguzi at a function held at General Military Hospital in Bombo, Luweero district, said that it is a primary obligation of a UPDF soldier to access voluntary counseling and testing to know their status at all times.
He noted that peer education should be handled at all unit levels in the institution, adding that there should be an increased support for the peer educators to extend services to even those personnel deployed in distant areas.
“We should make use of these commander’s sensitization notebooks and it should not be only given to high commanders but majorly should be issued to platoon commanders to make much use of them as immediate superiors to the soldiers all times,” said Brig Kusasira.
He went on to appreciate the United States Department of Defence and the Directorate of HIV for the initiative of the notebook and the journey it has walked with UPDF for the last four years through various initiatives such as the ULINZI condoms free distribution to the UPDF and its surrounding communities.
The Director HIV/AIDS, Maj Everline Asiimwe appreciated the resilient close collaboration, cooperation and the long positive history with the United States Government.
“I appreciate the peers who have been working tirelessly in the sensitization process alongside the COVID-19 pandemic. I urge the commanders to make use of these sensitisation notebooks to make sure the information is disseminated to the end users correctly for capability and sustainability to combat HIV/AIDS in the UPDF Institution and the country at large,” she said.
Maj Asiimwe added that more than 1000 copies of the commander’s sensitisation notebooks have been printed and are ready for distribution to the end users, and added that more will be availed in the near future.
The sensitization notebook contains detailed information and messages about HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support, COVID-19 related information, malaria and public health concerns written in two languages, English and Kiswahili.