Roughly 36.7 million people are living with HIV globally, this includes 1.1 million children, and sadly the vast majority do not know their status. Last year, on World AIDS Day, the Cotton On Foundation opened the Ross Langdon HIV Education Centre in Mannya village, Southern Uganda – a community the Foundation has been in partnership with since 2007.
Today, World AIDS Day 2016, we are thrilled to announce that in partnership with St. Bernard’s Mannya Health Care Centre we have been ranked ‘Best Comprehensive HIV Care and Treatment Providers’ for 2016! The grading was completed by the Rakai Health Sciences Program and the Masaka Diocesan Health Commission which covered seven districts. Out of 29 similar facilities we were ranked number one for counseling, testing and other HIV related services.
Since the centre’s opening late last year, 2,533 people have been tested for HIV. Moreover, 18,000 tests have been conducted since we began the checks at the Mannya Health Centre in 2009.
Year on year, the prevalence rate of HIV in the community continues to drop. Mannya village, once known as ‘Mission Impossible’ and ‘the birthplace of AIDS in Africa’ now has a lower prevalence rate than the country average.
Being the first of its kind, the centre aims to educate the community about the dangers and challenges of HIV AIDS, prevention will lead to a HIV free country. The centre provides guidance and counseling on HIV, running workshops every Wednesday and Friday and other programs throughout the week.
Kyeswa Vincent, who has managed the Mannya Health Care Centre for three and a half years, believes that, “the impact in the community has not yet been realized, but we hope to destigmatise HIV and other diseases through the provision of accurate health information.”
Monthly seminars are held with new and expecting mothers aged 15-24, at the Education Centre. Essential information regarding the prevention of HIV, family planning and self sustenance is provided to the women in this key age category. These sessions have had great success, with over 400 women participating in the workshops since July this year.
Men are also encouraged to attend their own sessions to freely discuss issues affecting their health. Free football games are streamed via the centre’s projector; this certainly helps sweeten the deal a little!
We are continuing to work towards Uganda’s national goal of zero new HIV infections, zero HIV and zero stigma.
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