Preparations for the 2020 Kabaka Birthday Run were unveiled yesterday at Buganda Kingdom headquarters in Mengo with an emphasis on preventing HIV and Aids.
The annual fun run attracts probably the biggest number of participants with next year’s event planned to have a minimum of 60,000 runners.
Charles Peter Mayiga, the kingdom premier announced that the Kabaka’s birthday is more than a celebration as it celebrates the heritage of the kingdom. Since the first run was held in 2014, health initiatives have been the main target. Until 2016, the run contributed Shs270m towards fistula while between 2017 until 2018, Shs550m has been contributed towards sickle cells.
The need to focus on HIV/Aids arose when His Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II was announced a UN Goodwill Ambassador in 2017.
According to UNAIDS, the agency tasked with ending HIV and Aids by 2030, the alarming levels of the disease in Uganda, estimated at 1000 new infections each week and 500 deaths, calls for action.
“Stopping new infections is key and we are particularly concerned about men because many still fear to seek treatment or adhere to treatment,” UNAIDS Country Director Karusa Kiragu said during a ceremony to launch the three-year campaign tagged on the Kabaka Birthday Run, which happens in April.
But there is another fear as an estimated 7,500 new infections were registered among children in 2018.
“We must look at the role of the family such that children are not left out,” Kiragu added.
Mayiga announced the new theme; “men against Aids to save the girl child,” calling upon men to act.
Airtel Uganda announced an extension of their partnership until 2021 with their Managing Director V.G Somasekhar hailing the role of the Kabaka in improving the quality of life for his subjects through healthcare and education.