UHSPA’s Kikonyogo Kivumbi (in white shirt) attends a meeting
at the Ministry of Health

In a surprise move, the Ugandan government has appointed a LGBTI group to a high profile committee addressing human rights and gender issues within Uganda’s public health system.

The committee, which is overseen by the Ministry of Health and brings together a cross-section of government institutions and activists, formally included the Uganda Health and Science Press Association (UHSPA-Uganda) as a stakeholder last month.

The organisation, which called the move a “rare change of heart”, posted pictures of its representative Kikonyogo Kivumbi sitting on the committee at the Ministry of Health headquarters on its blog on the 13th of June.

UHSPA describes itself as “as registered LGBTI network of groups and individuals” that aims to “put an end to homophobia and transphobia… in all Uganda’s public health policies and laws”.

Male and female homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, with penalties including life imprisonment. MPs from the ruling party have backed a bill which aims to further strengthen anti-gay laws and impose the death penalty for repeat offenders.

In January, David Kato, a Ugandan LGBTI activist, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in his home. Earlier this month, another LGBT activist’s house was burnt down.

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