World AIDS Day: 99% of HIV Mbarara Hospital patients attain viral load suppression

Mr Vianney Bwambale, one of Laboratory Technologists at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Clinical Laboratories processing samples.

Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital is one of the biggest government facilities that boasts of making tremendous steps in improving the quality of life of people living with HIV in the region.

Dr Celestine Barigye, the Hospital Director General has expressed gratitude to the facility’s HIV Clinic under the stewardship of Dr Winnie Muyindike a Consultant Physician and Dr Denis Nansera, a Consultant Pediatrician for the good job well done.

Addressing the media, Dr Barigye also a pundit in International Health (IH) noted that the hospital’s HIV Clinic accommodates close to 12000 clients of which 99% of them have attained viral load suppression.

For starters, viral load suppression means that a person living with HIV has less than 200 copies of the virus per millilitre of blood.

This further means that 99% of clients at MRRH have undetectable viruses meaning that they have and experts argue that such clients will not transmit HIV to their sexual partners.

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Attaining viral load suppression of 99% according to Dr Barigye whose research interest has been infectious diseases in underdeveloped nations, is a milestone worth celebrating although with the support of the American People through USAID Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Strengthening Activity their goal is to have all clients in care virally suppressed.

 “We attribute this success to the Ministry of Health and the American People through USAID Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Strengthening Activity which has been and is still building the capacity of the healthcare system in Ankole region”, he says.

Dr Celestine Barigye, the MRRH Director/ Director of Health Services in the region addressing the media (courtesy photo)

MRRH is currently supported by USAID to strengthen its capacity to implement a comprehensive HIV/AIDS, and TB among other areas besides building the capacity of lower health centres in the region.

The support of USAID Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Strengthening Activity has yielded tangible results indicated in the recent health performance report indicates that Ankore region which is the catchment area of MRRH excelled with Kiruhuratoppingg the list of all districts in the country.

However, worries over the high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS following the revelations that the district now ranks second to Fort Portal City having recorded 1789 in the past three years as per recent reports have been high in the land of milk and honey.

In response, Dr Barigye blamed it on low condom use, and complacency among others which make the youth vulnerable to HIV. 

However, he said that as the hospital with partner support,t they have laid down strategies such as improving coverage and quality of HIV prevention and testing services; including efforts to reduce gender-based violence (GBV) to tackle the vice.

He also underscored the need to improve the quality of HIV/AIDS, TB/TB-HIV care and strengthen the integration and delivery of selected Reproductive Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Services done at the hospital.

Halson Kagure, the Mbarara Referral Hospital Public Relations Officer told DailyExpress that they have embarked on behavioural change communication to sensitize the masses about HIV/AIDS through different media in the understanding language.

Currently, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Uganda stands at 5.2% having brought it down from 18% in 1980s, with a reduction of new infections to 52,000 from 94,0000 according to figures from the Uganda Aids Commission.

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Today, Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate World AIDS Day under the theme of keeping communities at the centre and the main celebrations took place in Rakai one of the districts ravaged by the pandemic in the 1980s.

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