Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Samuel Kaziimba has rallied Ugandans against gender-based violence (GBV) during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday at Uganda Media Centre, Dr Kaziimba said the Church is concerned by the increasing GBV cases.
“We have witnessed an increase of cases of GBV during the lockdown. As religious leaders, we appeal and encourage people to work together to prevent it in our homes and communities. We should also provide psycho-social support to the victims during this pandemic,” Dr Kaziimba said.
Uganda police registered 328 cases of GBV between March and April.
Archbishop Kaziimba attributed the cases of GBV across the country to lack of money and food.
“When there is no food in the house, men tend to get mad and resort to beating their wives. But there are also women who are busy abusing their husbands because their husbands do not have money and this has further intensified anger among the couples. I ask all men to desist from beating their wives, but women should also respect their husbands,” he said.
The Archbishop also asked the national Covid-19 task force to prioritise food distribution to HIV/Aids patients, many of whom have not been able to access their anti-retroviral treatment due to the lockdown.
Dr Kaziimba had accompanied the Minister of Presidency, Ms Esther Mbayo, to address the nation about the forthcoming International Candle Light Day.
Ms Mbayo said the 2020 International Aids candlelight memorial day, which is commemorated every May 17 to remember all the people who have died of HIV/Aids, would be marked scientifically.
She said unlike the previous years where a number of government officials and church leaders would converge to pray for the souls of those who had departed, only a few selected people will be allowed to conduct this year’s activity.
The chairperson of National Forum for People Living with HIV/Aids Network in Uganda, Dr Stephen Waititi, said the major challenge faced by HIV patients has been failure to access their medication and lack of food.
“Some patients have missed taking their medication because they had nothing to eat. You know HIV/Aids medicine is strong and cannot be taken on an empty stomach,” Mr Waititi said.
We are asking the national task force to distribute food for them through their organisations.
Ms Wamala Namboozo, the Woman MP of Sironko District, said the national task force should reach out to all HIV/Aids patients through their local council chairpersons since some members of the public fear to approach them because of stigma.