The government is secretly funding members of the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in Uganda, Red Pepper has exclusively learnt.
This is detailed in the latest Ministry of Health report dubbed, “The HIV And AIDS Uganda: Country Progress Report 2014” signed by Dr Christine Ondoa, Uganda AIDS Commission, Director General.
According to the report that was released on June 15, 2015, the ministries of Health, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs unanimously agreed to protect homosexuals against discrimination and harassment in their day to day gay activities.
DETAILS ON THE REPORT
The 2014 Uganda HIV Country progress report was prepared through a consultative government led process involving all key players to give the status of the HIV response in 2014 and also met the Country’s reporting obligations to national and international commitments.
The 72 paged report details key milestones achieved in 2014 in the areas of prevention, treatment, care and support and systems strengthen as aligned to the ten Global HLM targets.
This 2014 report is the third report on the progress to the HIV response since 2011.
The controversial report comes after the constitutional court in Kampala on August, 2014 declared the passing of the anti-homosexuality bill into Law as null and void on grounds that the bill was passed without the required quorum.
Despite the fact that the law that was signed by President Yoweri Museveni on February 2014 was repealed by court, Ugandans have remained stringent and want the law that carries maximum punishment of life imprisonment enacted.
However, it has emerged that the government has clandestinely splashed billions of dollars to protect homosexuals in Uganda.
In fact, the report in one of the pages cites that the enactment of the Anti-homosexual Bill was a big challenge in the implementation of MARPs (Most-at-Risk Populations).
“The country experienced setbacks in the implementation of MARPS interventions initiated in the country earlier on. This was mainly sparked off by the enactment of the Anti-homosexuality Bill with the subsequent cancellation of funding to many programs and activities supporting the entire HIV response,” The report says.
“The passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in February 2014 created a short-term that threatened to heavily affect the national response. The Act for example affected decision on funds allocations among some ADPs and there was reported service interruption at one of the MARPs research sites in KCCA. However, intensified advocacy resulted in court nullification of the Act that mitigated prevailing challenges at the time and the situation was back to normal by the end of the year.”
In many countries, MARPs include sex workers, Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), and injection drug-users.
These populations are often considered marginalized in ways that make accessing care and treatment more difficult than for most others.
In Uganda, MARPs is headed by Dr Geoffrey Mugisha who is its Executive Director.
GOVT BACKS HOMOS
As a remedy, the report says that the government consequently decided to guard homos against discrimination.
“Through strategic engagement and advocacy with government and partners at the highest level, government and concerned ministries (i.e. Health, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs) issued assurances that LGBT/MSM are protected from violence and harassment; and ensure access of LGBTI to health and HIV-related services without any discrimination,” The report reads in parts.
The report adds, “The government also issued a statement on AHA (Anti-Homosexuality Act) 2014 reaffirming its commitment to the protection of the rights of all Ugandans and ensuring that nobody takes the laws into their hands and basic services including Health/HIV are provided to all.”
As a result the report says that about 10,000 sex workers, MSM, and members of communities they interact with have been reached with services in the target districts of Kampala, Kalangala, Gulu, Arua, Pader, Rakai and Kiryandongo.
Some of the services that Health ministry in partnership with Uganda AIDS Commission include supplying homos with lubricants since they cannot be easily be found in Ugandan stores considering that homosexuality is considered evil.
“Using the guidelines and initiatives started in 2013, the country has continued to seek for resources and partnerships to support interventions for MARPS Partners like GF, PEPFAR and the UN family have indicated funds for MARPS services including studies. Key in the approaches to successful implementation of services adapted by the country include the use of peer support to reach the MARPS, use of test and treat and procurement of lubricants to promote condom use among the MARPS,” the report reads.