Uganda Urban Authorities Roll out The Fast Track Cities Campaign Initiative
Uganda Mayors and other Urban Authorities under their umbrella organization Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders Initiative for Community Action Against HIV/AIDS at the Local Level (AMICAALL Uganda) in partnership with UNAIDS will roll out the Fast Track Cities Campaign Initiative starting November 2nd 2015. The campaign is a Post-Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Global HIV/AIDS response agenda that has been set to target 90% of all people living with HIV to know their HIV status, 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV infections to receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy to have viral suppression by the year 2020.
Recognizing that urban areas continue to be the most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and are the epicenters of the spread of the virus, UNAIDS, in partnership with the International Providers of AIDS Care (IPAC) and UN-Habitat supported a summit of Mayors in Paris (France) at the end of 2014 to deliberate on experiences, successes and challenges in the global AIDS response. The summit resulted into the “Paris Declaration” by Mayors and the above mentioned Partners who resolved to take bold actions and lead a global movement to achieve the 90-90-90 targets by 2020 and end the AIDS epidemic in cities by 2030. In the same vein, they launched the “Fast-Track Cities initiative” which seeks to fast track HIV/AIDS services in urban authorities.
Although Uganda reached a tipping point in 2013 with more people put on treatment (139,000) compared to the number of new infections in the same year (137,000), the country remained among the few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), which recorded high numbers of new infections with the highest being in urban areas. When the HIV prevalence in urban areas reduced from 10% in 2005 to 8.3% by 2011, this was still higher than the national average of 7.3% and that of the rural areas at 7.0% (Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey 2011). This situation is largely attributed to the fact that HIV prevalence is still very high among the Most At Risk Populations (MARPs) who are predominantly in the urban areas.
The first phase of the campaign will be rolled out in the five Municipalities (Soroti, Lira, Entebbe, Jinja, Hoima) and the Kampala Capital City Authority. The activities will include leadership engagement, community engagement and provision of HIV/AIDS services.
The primary beneficiaries of this programme are Local communities, urban leaders both political and technical including the Mayors, Town clerks, HIV focal persons/ Local Coordinators, and partner CSOs. It is anticipated that once the leaders are mobilized and sensitized, they will lead actions that will result into accelerated service delivery interventions benefiting the communities, especially the Key Populations like Fishing communities, Sex Workers, Men who have sex with men, Injecting Drug Users, Long Distance Truck Drivers and Boda boda riders and the general urban community.
AMICAALL will take lead in implementing the campaign in collaboration with UNAIDS, Uganda AIDS Commission and Ministry of Health and other stakeholders.