ADJUMANI. Cultural and religious leaders of Adjumani district have re-affirmed their commitment to champion the fight against the spread of HIV/Aids in the area.

The leaders made the commitment ahead of the launch of the regional Presidential fast track initiative on HIV in West Nile region slated to take place on September 7, 2018 in Adjumani district.

In preparation of the day, the event organizers; Adjumani district local government and Uganda Aids commission on Wednesday organized a cultural gala dubbed “Lange” literally meaning ‘sitting around fire’ at the Mayors’ garden in Adjumani town.

The colorful event was characterized by cultural dances such as Duluka, Madi cultural dances, performances from local artistes and cultural exhibitions.

During the function, Madi cultural chiefs led by Pakele clan Chief Chudi David Drichi appealed to the authorities in Madi sub region to support the restoration of Madi cultural institution so that it can be used to mobilize the populace in the fight against poverty and HIV.

Mr Paulino Vuso, the chairman Adjumani elders’ forum urged locals to guard against some persistent myths among the members of the community.

He cited believes like HIV was carried to Adjumani by the soldiers of Tanzania defense force commonly known as Wakombozi who over threw the government of Idi Amin Dada in 1979 as being used as an excuse for reckless lifestyle.

The event that is slated to run from September 5 -7, 2018 will be marked under the theme: “Reaching the men, girls and young women to reduce new HIV infections.”

Pakele Traditional EnterteWomen entertain guests with traditional Madi songs at the Lange.

Mr Nicholas Ayebazibwe, the infectious disease institute control program officer Adjumani, informed the gathering that the HIV prevalent rate of West Nile region stands at 3.1% while that of Adjumani district alone is at 1.2%.

He noted that over the years, Adjumani district registered 19,679 HIV clients but only 9, 946 were enrolled on antiretroviral therapy.

Ayabazibwe said last year, there were over 600 new infections cases which translate to two people getting infected every day. He said of all the infected people, 76 clients stopped taking the drugs while about 111 got lost.

Meanwhile Mr Musa Tombe, the Mireyee refugee settlement camp welfare council II chairperson requested for the intervention of the government of Uganda and partners in curbing the deadly disease especially among refugee women and children.

He said many children who lost their parents to the war in South Sudan are at risk of contracting the disease since they lack parental guidance.

The Presidential fast track initiative was launched in June 2017 by President Yuweri Museveni with the aim of accelerating efforts to achieve epidemic control and eliminate HIV as a public health threat in the country by 2030.