Context and background introduction
In September 2012 a working paper was released entitled ‘ Justification for Increased and Sustainable Financing for HIV in Uganda’ which looks to set out an innovative solution to funding HIV and AIDS prevention. Similar models have been proposed throughout the East African Community (EAC). The proposal suggests levying small taxes on petrol, telephone calls, beer, soft drinks and electricity which will be collected in a fund and used solely to tackle the disease in Uganda.
But is this a realistic and viable proposal? Let’s discuss!
Agree 1: It will reduce Uganda’s reliance on international support
Developing strategies that will enable Uganda to become less reliant on foreign aid will be supported by both Ugandans and the donor community. It will be a starting point from which Uganda can build from, with the goal of becoming less dependent on aid . This is the next stage in Uganda’s development as it seeks to develop a health service that provides for the needs of its people without over reliance on external support.
Counterpoint: Not enough revenue will be raised
Disagree 1: The poorer pay proportionally more
The tax would not differentiate on earnings but on usage of things such as telephone calls, electricity and the purchase of certain goods (tobacco, alcohol and fuel). There is a danger that the tax could be seen as placing a greater burden on the poorer  in society as the margins are much finer at the and that the state is once again taking more without offering anything significant in return. There is the possibility that the tax would be seen as further entrenching the divide between rich and poor in Uganda.
Counterpoint: It is a tax on luxury items
Agree 2: Reduced strain on health and education sectors
A fund devoted solely to HIV and AIDS protection will enable a clear strategy to be developed with regards to the issue, specifically in terms of health and education approaches. It will also free up funds in both health and education budgets which can be used to tackle other outstanding issues of which there are many in Uganda: Maternity units in some of Kampala’s main hospitals are ill-equipped and ambulances in a state of disrepair are not uncommon . 
Disagree 2: Corruption will be an inescapable feature
Corruption continues to be a major issue at the level of national politics in Uganda. Convincing them to part with more money for government initiatives would be met with anger and claims that it too will be misappropriated. Current debates over the National Oil and Gas Bill reflect the demand for greater transparency  and pose the question of how will the money be dispersed and to whom. These are questions that would need to be asked of the HIV and AIDS Tax Fund. Theft of HIV funds  has taken place in Uganda so why would this measure not have the same results?
Counterpoint: It is the role of the state to deliver services for its citizens
Agree 3: A way of re-engaging citizens in discussing the issue
By taxing citizens on items such as telephone calls it will serve as a daily reminder of the HIV and AIDS issue that needs to be tackled. Increased civic engagement may lead to greater interest and involvement on the issue at the community level and ultimately projects that can have impact at that level are often the most likely to be sustainable and successful. Secondly with a significant proportion of Uganda’s population being youth – the median age of Ugandans is 15.5 years  – it is crucial to ensure their engagement and the fund will be able to do this by at least ensuring that they maintain awareness of the disease.
Counterpoint: It might make citizens resentful of helping HIV and AIDS victims
Disagree 3: Ineffective Strategy
It is time to review the ABC (Abstinence, Be Careful and Condom) approach and adopt new and innovative strategies and ways of thinking to tackle the issues more in tune with the Ugandan youth of today. It is not the amount of money being spent on HIV and AIDS prevention which is the problem but the methods being championed. For example the issue of homosexuality remains one completely ignored by any strategy  and its continued criminalisation does not help the fight against HIV and AIDS in Uganda. A positive development is Ugandan civil society joining force to draw up a 10 point plan  setting out practical ways forward.
Counterpoint: Funding and Strategy are not the same
Agree 4: Moral obligation to fulfill Human Rights and MDG Pledges
Millennium Development Goal 6 requires states to have universal access to HIV and AIDS treatment  and to have begun the reversal and spread of the disease by 2015. This fund will assist Uganda in achieving those goals as since 2005 there has been a slight increase in infection rates and there is still a continued need for greater access to treatment. More broadly, it will assist the Ugandan government in promoting and protecting human rights
Counterpoint: Is the State morally obliged to provide healthcare?
Disagree 4: Complacency not underfunding
It has been suggested that a relaxed attitude towards the disease amongst both citizens and the state has played a crucial role in the gradually rising rates on HIV and AIDS infection. Uganda had such great success in lowering its rates from 1991 to 2005 that a degree of complacency has begun to undermine the great strides previously made. The need is not for greater funding but for a change in attitude towards tackling the disease.
Counterpoint: Funding addresses awareness as well as financial aspect
References & Background Reading
Aids: 20 Ugandans who Made a Difference by Shifa Mwesigye (Dec 2, 2012) The Observer (Uganda)
Corruption and HIV AIDS in Uganda by How does corruption affect the fight against HIV/AIDs unit 9 learning module(2009) (for HTML link) World Bank Institute Professional Development Programs for Parliamentarians & Parliamentary Staff
AIDS pandemic at ‘beginning of the end’, say campaigners by Catharine Paddock PhD (Dec 1, 2014) Medical News Today
 Malik Fal — Advocacy for Small-Medium Enterprises on Poverty Cure website
 US gives Uganda 27b to fight HIV/AIDS by John Odyek (Sept 27, 2012) New Vision
 Uganda: HIV trust fund in the works (Oct 3, 2012) IRIN
 Maternal Deaths Focus Harsh Light on Uganda by Celia W. Dugger (July 29, 2011) New York Times
 Experts divided over HIV strategy by Rukiya Makuma (Sept 9, 2012) The Independent (Uganda)
 Uganda’s Soaring HIV Infection Rate Linked to Infidelity by Hilary Heuler (April 19, 2013) Voice of America (USA)
 Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDs, Malaria and other diseases by United Nations
 Uganda, fueling the brain drain, sends MD’s to Trinidad (Dec 30, 2014) Black Star News (USA)
 Why is Uganda exporting doctors it doesn’t have? by Flavia Nassaka and Haggai Matsiko (Dec 8, 2014) The Independent (Uganda)
 Towards taxation for development: challenges and opportunities – the case of Uganda (Nov, 2010) SEATINI. See pages 12 and 13.
 Oil in Uganda website
 Uganda: Global Fund probe reveals massive graft by (April 3, 2006) IRIN
 Return to abstinence, Museveni tells youth by Flavia Lanyero (Dec 3, 2012) Daily Monitor (Uganda)
 Uganda: HIV trust fund in the works (Oct 3, 2012) IRIN
 The ten point plan to kick HIV out of Uganda (Dec 3, 2012) New Vision (Uganda)
 Uganda losing fight against HIV/AIDs, UN official says (May 18, 2013) by Daily Monitor (Uganda)
 Uganda: New Law Criminalizes HIV/AIDS Transmission, Requires Pregnant Women to Undergo HIV Testing by Hanibal Goitom (Sept 17, 2014) Library of Congress (USA)