Ministry of Health has suspended the Uganda Population-Based HIV Impact Survey (UPHIA) until further notice following the coronavirus cases in the country.
Dr Joshua Musinguzi, the head of the HIV/Aids programme at Ministry of Health, said the ministry guidelines on the pandemic had to be followed but also the suspension of public transport and other new restrictions on private transport made it hard for the team to move to the field to conduct the survey.
“We had done a third of the field work, but with the lockdown we cannot continue because we want to make sure we give priority to Covid-19 first. Covid-19 is a pandemic and we must follow the Ministry of Health guidelines. Anything that stands in the way of those guidelines, we make sure we pause it until we have controlled the pandemic…,” Dr Musinguzi said in a telephone interview with Daily Monitor on Saturday.
In February, Ministry of Health dispatched teams to conduct the 2020 UPHIA. The data collected from the survey was used to assess the national prevalence/incidence of HIV infection in the population.
The UPHIA is a household-based national survey. The last one was conducted between August 2016 and March 2017 to measure the status of Uganda’s national HIV response. It offered household-based HIV counselling and testing, with the return of results and referral to clinics for those who tested HIV positive and collected information about the uptake of HIV prevention, care and treatment services.
Data by the Uganda Aids Commission (UAC) released last year shows Uganda is registering 1,000 new HIV infections and 500 deaths per week, translating into 53,000 new infections and 23,000 deaths annually.
The Uganda Demographic Health Survey 2016 revealed that 33.4 per cent of women and 29 per cent of men had negative attitude towards people living with HIV/Aids. The second national index study, which is still a draft, shows 6.7 per cent of people living with HIV/Aids were denied employment because of their status.