Minister for the Presidency Milly Babalanda has directed the Uganda AIDS Commission(UAC) to effect a wide range of changes aimed at improving service delivery.
The Minister’s directive was issued during her official visit to the Commission’s offices in Ntinda on Friday.
Director-General Dr Nelson Musoba, on behalf of the commission, read a status update to the fully attentive Minister wherein among others highlighted budgetary constraints key among the operational challenges in executing their mandate.
In response, Babalanda hailed the commission for their commendable commitment to service delivery in the past, adding she is confident a lot would be achieved through teamwork and unity during her tenure as Minister.
Key among the directives sounded by the Minister was the regulation of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) extending AIDS support services.
According to Babalanda, many of these operate with wrong motives spurred by high unemployment levels. These, Babalanda says are not only detrimental to the AIDS message but also lives and livelihood in communities.
Unregistered AIDS Agencies: I have heard of agencies that registered to offer AIDS services but with wrong motives. This has been largely caused by the high levels of unemployment in the population.
“I am therefore directing the Uganda AIDS Commission to regulate organizations that provide HIV prevention services in the country to deal with the challenge once and for all,” Babalanda ordered.
She also directed that the Commission be restructured to decentralise its activities to ease service delivery to hard-to-reach places.
“I have learned that the majority of your staff are based at the Center in Kampala. This is not correct. Most of the activities of the UAC are field-based and the easiest way to monitor and manage them is to provide decentralized services.” The minister further advised.
“The Director and the Board are hereby required to plan for this decentralization in the coming year to maximize our services in the country. My Office will particularly be interested in this issue and I hereby promise to provide you with all the necessary support and guidance.” She added.
Babalanda also decried the slow decision-making and implementation of the body’s activities which she attributes partly to the large membership in the decision-making organs.
She explained that Uganda AIDS Commission has the biggest Board of 12 members which she says can be considered a strong factor in slowing the decision-making process. She proposed looking into this composition as a way of improving efficiency.
She further hinted at the existence of the commission as another possible hindrance to the effectiveness of the decision-making process. She notes that there are 8 Committees each with three members which she has ordered to be reviewed and a new structure be presented to her for consideration.
“I, therefore, direct the Board Chairman and the Director-General to review this structure and come up with something realistic.” She commanded.
On the issue of budgetary constraints as briefed earlier, the Minister promised to meet with officials at the Ministry of Health and the Office of the President for an engagement on the same.
She further tasked the Commission’s Chief to always furnish her office with monthly performance evaluations of the Commission, in addition, to report from the AIDS agencies in the country. These, she said should always be sent to her private email which she provided. This, she said will enable her to brief the President on the progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS.