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Condom use significantly went down in Uganda during lockdown due to movement restrictions, ministry of Health has said. 

Vastha Kibirige, ministry of Health's condom programme coordinator says while many people still have no access to condoms, some of those who have access don't even know how to use them.  

“Lack of condom use has increased the risk of people getting HIV since they have been having sex without using condoms, especially during lockdowns. It was difficult to distribute condoms to the last users during lockdowns,” Kibirige said. 

Kibirige told The Observer that Uganda needs about 18 million condoms per month for its sexually active people but they receive fewer condoms since the government doesn’t know exactly the number of people who need these condoms. She said of the sexually active population in need of condoms, only 33 per cent have access to them.

“There is a big number of sexual workers who use these condoms and other people who pose as housewives yet they are also sex workers. Others are men who have sex with fellow men and also youths. So government is not aware of the exact number of these sex workers,” she said.

“We are trying as much as possible to make sure condoms are available and accessible. They are now accessible in self dispensers at working places, health facilities, entertainment places and other public places where they can easily access them,” Kibirige added.

Kibirige said condoms are the only personal protection devices (PPDs) that offer triple protection which include sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies. 

“If you are using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) you don’t prevent STIs and unintended pregnancies, you only prevent HIV. But a condom is the best since it prevents all the three infections such as HIV, STIs and unintended pregnancies,” Kibirige said.

The new HIV infections are currently highest among women aged 25–34 years with a prevalence rate being highest among women aged 35-39 years. And among men, the incidence peaks among those at age of 35-49, and with the highest number of infections in those that are 45-49 years.

Currently, about 1.4 million Ugandans live with HIV and out of them, 1.2 million who are on treatment. Kibirige further warned girls against using the morning after pill as an everyday contraceptive, saying that it’s supposed to be used for emergency situations only because when it’s overused it, becomes toxic to the body due to its high concentration. - Zurah Nakabugo, The Observer


People in Uganda queued up outside vaccination centers in the capital Kampala on Wednesday, a day after the country confirmed its first cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The virus was detected in seven travellers from South Africa and Nigeria who arrived at Entebbe International Airport on November 29 and are currently in isolation.

Those affected were said to display only mild symptoms.

The arrival of the new variant has driven some previously vaccine-hesitant Ugandans to get a jab.

At the Kampala Capital City Authority mass vaccination site, several first-timers reported for their first jab fearing the country could return to the scenes witnessed during the second wave of the pandemic.

Around 7.6 million doses have been administered in Uganda since the rollout began in early 2021.

The confirmation of omicron cases in Uganda means the new variant has been found in at least nine African countries.

South Africa remains the epicenter of the omicron outbreak, with experts saying that the overwhelming majority of its thousands of new cases per day are of the new variant. - Africanews with AFP

Sky News host Peta Credlin apologised for the second time in 18 months to Victoria’s South Sudanese community. Photo SKY NEWS


Sky News host Peta Credlin has issued a lengthy on-air apology to Victoria’s South Sudanese community after anger about a program in which she falsely blamed them for a Melbourne COVID-19 outbreak last year.

The former government advisor issued the four-minute apology last Friday night, describing her previous comments as “factually wrong,” error-strewn and apologising for the hurt and offence she caused.

It’s the second time Credlin has apologised to Victoria’s South Sudanese community since she made the comments last year.

“In June last year, while commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic, the escalation of new infections in Victoria, and various public health measures, I incorrectly linked the South Sudanese community to a cluster of cases that had developed following an end-of-Ramadan dinner in Melbourne’s northern suburbs,” Credlin told viewers. “This was factually wrong, and I again deeply regret the error. On the basis of that error, I made various other statements that I accept have caused genuine hurt and offence to South Sudanese community members. It was not my intention.”

Credlin also clarified the South Sudanese community was not involved with the end-of-Ramadan cluster. “More than 93 per cent of South Sudanese born members of the community are Christian, not Muslim,” she said.

“The South Sudanese community were not making excuses and to the best of their ability members of the community were educating each other, maintaining social distancing, changing their cultural practices and doing what was required,” she said.

“My statements were understood to mean that the South Sudanese community had been reckless, irresponsible, or even deliberate, in breaching social distancing requirements, that the community had failed to adapt its cultural practices like other Australians, and that this was putting Australians at risk. I do not believe there was any truth to those inferences,” Credlin said.

Credlin’s first apology came three days after the offending program went to air, but it was criticised by the Society of South Sudanese Professionals as a “serious assault” on the community. The second apology was prompted by different concerns raised after meeting with the South Sudanese community. Credlin said on Friday the first apology was “too limited” and had caused further offence.

Sky News will run stories in coming months to highlight the positive contributions South Sudanese Victorians make to the broader community, she said.

Credlin apologised on air to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in February for saying his petition calling for a royal commission into the Murdoch media was a “data harvesting exercise”. The apology was part of a confidential defamation settlement.

An Australian News Channel spokesperson said the apology was made following an agreement with the South Sudanese community.

“Australian News Channel and Peta Credlin issued an apology over remarks concerning the South Sudanese community in June 2020 soon after the segment went to air,” a spokesperson said.

“Following a separate and more recent complaint over the same broadcast, Sky News and Peta Credlin engaged in extensive consultation with other South Sudanese community members. Peta Credlin made a further apology on last Friday’s episode of Credlin as soon as agreement was reached.” - Zoe Samios, WAtoday

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