Tuesday, March 5News That Matters

Infectious Diseases Institute changing health face of Uganda, Africa-20 years down the road .

The Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) of Makerere University has embarked on celebrating its 20th anniversary with initial engagements between 20th and 24th March 2023.
Giving the background of the institute at a media briefing on Monday, Rev. Prof. Dr. Samuel Abimerech Luboga – IDI Board Chairman said that in September 2002, the Institute commenced clinical operations with support from the Academic Alliance for AIDS Prevention and Treatment in Africa.
He noted that over the years, IDI has evolved to become a leader in infectious diseases research and capacity development.
“IDI has established long-term partnerships with stakeholders in Uganda and beyond. The institution has extended its work through diverse programs, such as Prevention Care and Treatment, Research, Training, Laboratory services, Health System Strengthening, Global Health Security, and Health Innovations.”
Dr Andrew Kambugu, the Executive Director of IDI noted that they are currently support HIV care and treatment for 270,000 people living with HIV in 14 districts including Kampala and West Nile Region.
“This is approximately 20% of people living with HIV in Uganda. We have trained 54,000 health workers and health management staff from Uganda, 31 other African countries and eight countries outside Africa. IDI has also supported over 116 scholars in post-doctoral, PhD and masters study.”
“We are thrilled to be celebrating 20 years at IDI. This is a significant milestone in IDI’s history. We are exceptionally grateful to our partners, donors, and staff who have supported us throughout the years and we look forward to continuing this vital work to strengthen health systems in Africa,” he added.
Dr Kambugu says since their inception, they have dealt with both traditional infectious diseases, including malaria and HIV but also the emerging infectious diseases like Ebola, Marburg, Crimean Congo fever and many other exotic infections.
“We were started to address HIV. I am pleased to tell you that compared to when IDI started, the number of new HIV infection has dropped by more than half. This has been observed in Uganda, but it’s not limited to Uganda,” he noted.
On this, he noted that antiretroviral therapy is key in HIV prevention, revealing that “if somebody is exposed to them sexually, their chances of transmitting HIV to them are almost zero.”
Prof. Samuel called for much emphasis on infectious diseases compared to diseases of longevity, like cancers and other non-communicable diseases.
“We will all die but dying of infectious diseases is one way of premature death,” he said. “You are dying of things that are preventable and treatable and therefore, efforts like that of the infectious diseases Institute, has helped us to deal with this source of premature death.”

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