17th May 2018 Statement from MARPs Network Limited – Co-host of the Cancelled First Annual Key and Priority Populations Conference in Uganda
On 15th May 2018, in a meeting with the MARPs Network Limited (MNL) CEO Dr Geoffrey Mujisha, the Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) Director General, Dr Nelson Musoba confirmed that – following further consultation with the UAC Board of Directors and Government of Uganda (GoU) officials – Uganda’s First Annual National Key and Priority Populations Conference had been cancelled.
We, at MNL, are deeply disappointed at this outcome after all of the hard work from conference organisers, authors of abstracts and posters, and especially the key and priority population (KP/PP) community who had been the real champions and beneficiaries of this activity.
The cancellation of this conference must not have an adverse effect on the ongoing KP/PP programming activities by stakeholders across the country – including grassroots organisations, regional and national partners, and development partners alike.
Throughout the journey to fight for access to services for KP/PP in Uganda we, as a country, have achieved major milestones, and while this activity cannot go ahead, civil society will continue to commit to KP/PP programming in Uganda ensuring the KP/PP voices are heard, and that these communities are fully considered as part of Uganda’s national response to HIV/AIDS through MNL.
We underscore the theme of the conference:* Ending AIDS without exclusion*, in the hope that as Ugandans we can fight together to end stigma and discrimination as we redouble our efforts to end the HIV epidemic that has affected the lives of us all. We can achieve the goals of 90-90-90, and the Presidential Fast Track Initiative of Ending AIDS by 2030 – but only if we all work together. As such, we demand that the GoU through its ministries, departments, and agencies, continues to programme for KP/PP as stipulated in the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2015/16 – 2019/20 using the public health approach.