UPDF Celebrates 33rd Tarehe Sita in Buhweju District

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Tarehe Sita in Buhweju

Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) wins hearts, minds and foreskins with a health drive that included distributing condoms and circumcising men as part of its efforts to battle AIDS.

“There are several activities that we are doing. Among them is medical outreach. The UPDF (Uganda People’s Defence Force) is a unique army in many respects. Circumcision is a proven method to reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS and we think that by doing that our people will reduce the risk of infection,” army spokesman Paddy Ankunda said, reports AFP.

He added that army doctors have in recent days carried out 330 circumcisions, 630 HIV tests and distributed 43,500 condoms.

“We are taking care of the entire procedure. We have installed ourselves in already existing health centres and constructed appropriate facilities. But that is just one activity. We are distributing mosquito nets, we are treating malaria, treating eye infections, dental complications, all sorts of things,” Ankunda said as quoted by AFP.

This drive by the army leads up to the February 6 anniversary of the 1981 attack against an army barracks by rebel forces fighting then-president Apolo Milton Obote, which heralded the start of a war that ended in 1986 with the current President Yoweri Museveni taking office.

Each year the army marks the anniversary with public service activities in designated areas of the country. This year operations are taking place in the west of the country, although Ankunda said Ugandan troops across the country and those based in South Sudan and Somalia were also active.

According to the army spoken person, this drive is among the many services the army does for the people in the countryside like medical outreach, work with other agencies dealing with development of the people, redo roads that are broken in the countryside of the region they select. They also mobilise and train people against disease and poverty.

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