Airtel Uganda under its renewed strategic partnership with Buganda Kingdom will for the next three years of the Kabaka Birthday Run focus on the fight against HIV/AIDs.
Speaking during the launch of the seventh edition of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II’s birthday run at Bulange, Mengo on Monday, November 25, 2019, Buganda Premier, Charles Peter Mayiga, said the Kingdom was putting men at the forefront.
Kabaka was named a UNAIDs HIV/AIDs Ambassador. Its against this background that Buganda Kingdom resolved that part of the coming Birthday Run proceeds are used in the fight against the disease.
According to Katikiro Mayiga, the previous three years’ birthday run, held ahead of the Kabaka’s birthday on April 13, focused on fighting the Sickle Cell Disease whose proceeds were dedicated to raising awareness and procuring test kits through the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services.
He said that this year, 494 million Shillings was realised in the Run.
Africa Tembelea understands that next year’s edition of the Birthday will run under the theme; ‘Men Against AIDs to Save the Girl Child’.
In line with next years’ theme, Katikiro Mayiga encouraged men and male youth to be wise and decide not to spread and acquire HIV as a strategy for containing the deadly virus.
He said that the Kingdom’s annual themes for the Birthday Run help people understand the different health conditions especially those they perceive to be caused by witchcraft.
“When we started in 2014, we focused on fistula and up to 270 million Shillings was given to Kitovu Hospital by 2016 to help treat women with the condition. In 2017, we started the fight against Sickle Cell and part of the proceeds totalling 550 million Shillings were given towards the fight as of 2019,” he said.
Adding that Buganda Kingdom targets over 70,000 participants in the 2020 run to rhyme with the vision of making the Kabaka Birthday run as the most popular run on the African continent.
Participants in the Birthday run include those for the 5km, 10km and 21km race.
On his part, V.G Somasekhar, the Managing Director of Airtel Uganda re-affirmed the company’s commitment to the annual Kingdom event.
“Airtel Uganda will continue to support the Buganda Kingdom and we are very proud of this partnership,” Somasekhar said.
“Going forward, we confirm our commitment to end Aids by the year 2030,” he added.
According to statistics by UNAIDs, 1.4 million people were living with HIV in Uganda as of 2018, and that 84 per cent of people living with HIV in 2018 knew their status, 72 per cent were on treatment and 64 per cent were virally suppressed.
Dr Karusa Kiragu, the UNAIDs Country Director said that Kingdoms are an important fabric of the community and that continued discussion and communication is vital for ending the HIV scourge. She added that UNAIDS hopes to make a huge milestone in sensitizing people, about the dangers of HIV through the Kabaka’s Birthday Run.
– Partnership –
The Kabaka Birthday Run is an annual event to mark the King’s birthday as part of a partnership that the telecommunications giant has with the Buganda Kingdom to sponsor four of their most important activities; the Kabaka’s Birthday Run, Kabaka’s birthday celebration, the Kabaka’s coronation as well as Eid El Fitri.