2005-09-02-Uganda urged to release condoms

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2005-09-02-Uganda urged to release condoms


Health and Aids campaigners in Uganda are threatening legal action against the government unless it releases 30m condoms which they say are in storage.

They say government policy on Aids has changed to reflect an American demand for a greater emphasis on abstinence.

Earlier in the week, Ugandan Health Minister Mike Mikula said government policy had not changed.

At the same time, a major donor says it will resume Aids funding, following earlier money management concerns.

The health campaigners, from 16 organisations, say an acute shortage of condoms is increasing the risk of HIV infection.

Last week, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria halted more than $150m of its grant to Uganda.

But on Friday, a Global Fund official said its Uganda programme will resume.

"We need to set up a structure to strengthen the Aids programme in the health ministry, Global Fund operations chief Bradford Herbert said.

"The commission of inquiry will take a month to do its work. The suspension, I believe will be lifted at the latest in October."

Earlier this week, the government engaged auditing firm Ernst and Young in response to donor concerns about financial management.

Uganda is often held up as a model of how to fight HIV/Aids, with infection rates falling from 15 to 5%.

But recently Uganda's Aids programme was criticised by the UN's special envoy on fighting Aids in Africa, who said that Uganda - under pressure from the United States - was putting greater emphasis on abstinence to tackle the disease than condoms.

Ugandan denies any change in policy and the US has rejected the UN accusation.

 

 


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