Health News


Researchers Envisage HIV, Contraceptive Combination Therapy


A new trial by scientists is on in Masaka district to find a strong combination of technology to protect women from HIV/Aids and Sexually Transmitted Diseases-STDs. The trial has drawn scientists from Medical Research Council-MRC, Uganda Virus Research Institute-UVRI and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicines-LSHTM Research Unit.

Doctor Sylvia Kusemererwa, the Project Leader from the International Partnership for Microbicides-IPM at the MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Research Unit at Kirumba in Masaka district, says they are undertaking a lot of studies towards developing the technology.

According to Dr. Kusemererwa, the trials are looking at modifying the recently invented virginal ring such that besides HIV prevention, it can also protect the user from Sexually Transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. In 2016, after a series of clinical trials which involved researchers from Uganda, scientists unveiled the "Virginal Ring" that showed that potential of protecting women from HIV infection.

The studies showed that once placed into the woman's sexual organ, the silicon-band ring that was coated with dapivirine drugs reduces the risk of HIV infection by 30%, through releasing an antiretroviral drug that prevents the virus from establishing into the body cells.

Dr. Kusemererwe says the ongoing trial is part of the wider-scale scientific trails conducted in Uganda and other Research centers abroad aimed at finding potential HIV prevention. She says although the ring hasn't been licensed for use in Uganda, they are conducting further studies to explore several other prevention alternatives.

She says all the efforts are geared towards reducing women susceptibility to HIV infections given that they are at the most at risk of acquiring the virus.

She notes that as scientists they are much focused at inventing microbicides as well as enhancing their efficacy as they proved to be better tools for women.

But Vincent Basajja, the MRC/UVRI Community Liaison Officer, observes that the ongoing studies are just an additional effort to the traditionally proven HIV preventive measures of behavioral change that include Abstinence, being faithful, Condom Use and Safe Male Medical Circumcision.

Bassajja however emphasizes the need for a multi-sectoral campaign to encourage the use of the available alternatives pending the conclusion of other studies.

In Africa, the Virginal ring was tested in Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, and Zimbabwe among 18- to 45-year-olds on a sample of 4500 women in Uganda and the other three countries.


Health Ministry Receives Equipment from Korean Agency



The Health Ministry has received Maternal and Child Health equipment worth US$ 257,000 through the World Health Organisation thanks to Korea International Cooperation Agency- (KOICA.

The equipment includes 94 Adult Ambubag, 80 normal delivery sets, 82 adult hospital Beds, 20 Pediatric hospital Beds, four incubators, 40 Blood pressure machines and 14 Pulse Oxymeters among others.

The equipment comes as a second batch of delivery from the Korean Agency in the Maternal and Child Health Outreach Project. The project ran from November 2017 to June 2018.

The Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine received the equipment on behalf of the health ministry for distribution to the Kamuli and Iganga Hospital. She cautioned the beneficiaries against misusing the equipment.

She also disclosed that they are expecting another batch of equipment from Korea International Cooperation Agency.

The Kamuli Assistant District Health Officer, Moses Lyangoba welcomed the donation, saying they have been recording several infant deaths at Kamuli General Hospital and Kamuli Mission Hospital due to insufficient equipment.

The Iganga Assistant District Health Officer, Ruth Namusaabi, says the equipment will go a long away in improving maternal and child health care services in the District.

Cham Chun Kin, the Director KOICA, says they distributed two ambulances, four motor cycles, two food trucks to Kamuli and Iganga District in the first batch.

He says they also conducted capacity building training for Health workers in immunization, family planning and management of complications of Labor and Postnatal Care.

Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam, the WHO Country Representative, says a total of 640 health workers and 210 teachers were trained from both districts.



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