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Children smile after the campaign’s national launch in Kampala, Uganda.

KAMPALA, Uganda, 29 November 2005 – In an effort to galvanise action for children and women affected by AIDS, UNICEF joined the Government of Uganda, UNAIDS and other partners for the national launch of UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS. The campaign was inaugurated by Minister of Health Jim Muhwezi.

UNICEF Representative in Uganda, Martin Mogwanja, said that AIDS in Uganda was responsible for the deaths of 14,000 children each year, almost one an hour. An estimated 40 Ugandan children are being newly infected with HIV each day. “This is unacceptable when we also know that new infections of children can largely be prevented and life can be prolonged with new anti-retroviral medicines,” he said.

Crispus Ssemitala, 13, an orphan due to AIDS, speaks to audience members during an official ceremony inaugurating the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS campaign in Uganda. Assisting Ssemitala is his guardian Noeline Namukisa of the NGO Meeting Point.

“Children are the missing face of HIV/AIDS and remain dangerously underserved by care providers and insufficiently informed by social mobilisers. As long as this continues, the numbers of children infected, dying, orphaned and left vulnerable due to AIDS in Uganda will only continue to rise,” he added.

UNICEF said that while Uganda had made significant strides in combating HIV/AIDS since the 1990s, a greater commitment of resources and action was required in the priority areas of prevention and care focusing on children and adolescents, pregnant women and children orphaned by AIDS.

“It is most encouraging to witness Uganda joining a growing number of countries launching this campaign for children. The campaign priorities may not be new for Uganda, but they are intended to reinforce and dramatically expand all our work on HIV/AIDS with a vision to free young lives from the backbreaking burden of HIV/AIDS and make a real difference in children’s lives,” added Mogwanja.










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