Research by the Uganda National Laboratory Services (UNHLS) on the routine of taking Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) ranks Sheema District among the best performing districts.
The findings were released on Wednesday, with Masaka, Kyotera and Rakai in Buganda; Kampala, the capital; and, Mbarara, Rukungiri, Mitooma and Sheema in western Uganda ranked best.
Also in report, more HIV patients in eastern and northern districts are not following the routine of taking Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), resulting in lesser viral load suppression in them than the national average.
Kween District in Sebei sub-region and Amudat in Karamoja, which ranked 16-24 percentage point lower than the national viral load suppression, have the highest numbers of non-compliant patients, according to findings of government survey.
The UNHLS in the Health ministry conducted the study in 2014 to August, this year, in at least 90 per cent of Ugandas 126 districts.
Other poorly-ranked districts include; Yumbe in West Nile, Kaabong in Karamoja, Bukwo in Sebei and Bulambuli and Manafwa in Bugisu sub-region as well as Dokolo in Lango, Buyende in Busoga and Sembabule in central Uganda.
Release of the study finding at the launch of a new HIV prevention strategy came less than a fortnight to the World Aids Day celebrations on December 1.
Health officials have as recent as last month claimed that Uganda is on course to achieve the 90-90-90 strategy; testing nine out of every 10 Ugandans, putting equal number who test positive immediately on ARVs and reducing viral load in those on treatment by 90 per cent.
Dr Isaac Ssewanyana said Ugandas national average on viral load suppression was 86 per cent, but reluctance or failure by patients to adhere to routine medication had made majority districts in eastern Uganda unable to meet targets.
This approach, according to officials in best-performing districts, has worked well for them.
Jude Mbabaali, the chairman of Masaka, the best-ranked district in Uganda, said bringing all stakeholders under one umbrella and taking joint decisions had helped them succeed.
Yumbe District chairperson Yasin Taban said patients in the area are unable to comply with medication routine because of regular stock-out of ARVs at government health facilities.
Taban implored the government to establish a structured way to follow up Aids patients on treatment, deliver ARVs on time and support patients unable to feed themselves.
According to Dr Ssewanyana, viral load suppression among children is low, at 65 per cent, because parents too dont follow the medication routine.
At boarding schools, he said, teasing by colleague students and stigma discourage HIV-positive students from taking drugs on time and some abandon the ARVs altogether.
Dr Nelson Musoba, the director-general of the Uganda Aids Commission, said that they have been putting more emphasis at the national level rather than engaging the communities that are end-users of HIV-Aids-related services.
As of 2017, the government estimated that 1.3 million Ugandans were living with HIV/Aids and 26,000 die each year.
Source: www.mknewslink.com a greater western Uganda news website