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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 October, 2004, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
'Biggest' Africa HIV centre opens
Ugandan Aids poster
Uganda began campaigning on Aids in the late 1980s
One of Africa's biggest HIV/Aids training centres has been opened in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

The Infectious Diseases Institute, largely funded by drug company Pfizer, will train up to 200 doctors a year.

It will also treat some 300 HIV patients a day with the latest anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs).

Uganda has been widely praised for its fight against Aids, where a government campaign which saw infection rates drop from 30% to 6% in a decade.

Correspondents say Uganda was chosen to host the centre because of this success.

Scarce resources

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni opened the facility along with Pfizer's head, Hank McKinnell.

"If professionals at this hospital can train a hundred like them in a year, then that hundred can train thousands more in the years that follow," Mr McKinnell told Reuters news agency.

The institute's training initiatives will ultimately result in improved care for millions of patients, he said.

After qualifying many of its students will go to work in rural clinics, where resources are scarce.

"If and when they begin prescribing ARVs, they need to know what tests they can do without and still be relatively successful in monitoring and treating patients," said Dr Moses Kamya, the institute's head of training.

Pfizer, one of the world's richest drug companies, says the training centre - based at Makerere University - is one of the largest of its kind in East Africa.

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