Uganda health ministry says ‘Don’t discriminate’, but the law says otherwise

Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s minister of health.

Uganda’s Ministry of Health is worried that the nation’s harsh new Anti-Homosexuality Law will cripple the country’s battle against HIV/AIDS.

Fearful HIV patients have stopped going to clinics to receive anti-HIV medication.

Treatment centers have reported that their clinics have emptied out since the new law was passed in late May.

In hopes of assuring HIV patients that it’s still safe to visit clinics, the ministry issued a communique urging clinics not to deny services to any client  “for any reason – gender, religion, tribe, economic status, social
status or sexual orientation.”

However, the Ugandan human rights group Convening For Equality (CFE) pointed out that the Ministry’s instruction doesn’t provide LGBTI patients with any protection:

The Director General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health recently sent out a circular to health service providers directing them not to deny services to any client irregardless of how they present and always maintain confidentiality.

“While this stance is commendable, the Anti Homosexuality Act provides NO protections for LGBTQI+ persons who are seeking health services at these facilities. In fact, the Act further empowers health service providers to discriminate and stigmatize LGBTQI+ persons at will.

“CFE continues to therefore appeal to the courts to urgently hear the petitions that are challenging this draconian law and repeal this law that should never have been passed in the first place and ensure that the ministry commits to ACTUAL non-discrimination.”

Source: African Human Rights Media Network member Erasing 76 Crimes.