In April, police raided an HIV clinic in Kampala because they claimed it was “recruiting” gay people.

In April, police raided an HIV clinic in Kampala because they claimed it was “recruiting” gay people.

Uganda’s Ministry of Health says that health care providers must offer health services to LGBT people without any form of discrimination.

This follows concerns that the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act will not only allow health care providers to discriminate against LGBT people but will compel them to do so.

It’s feared that doctors, clinics and researchers will need to ‘report’ LGBT people to the authorities, which will further drive the community underground and affect the country’s battle against HIV.

In a Ministerial Directive, dated June 2014, the Health Ministry admits that the new law “is seen to add to the ethical dilemmas faced by health care providers.”

It reiterates, however, “the rights of Ugandans including minority groups to access health services based on the principles of inclusion, non-discrimination, privacy and confidentiality, accountability and transparency in health care.”

Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Minister of Health, adds in the document: “The Government of Uganda would like to reassure all citizens, development partners, and other stakeholders of its commitment to uphold and protect all individuals in line with the International Instruments to which the country subscribes.”

The directive states that no health facility or health care provider is allowed to discriminate against patients on grounds including sexual orientation. It also states that “all clients have a right to privacy in the course of consultation and treatment.”

It explains that “a health care provider shall observe the patient’s confidentiality and privacy and shall not disclose any information regarding the patient,” except in cases of preventing a disease outbreak or as a consequence of a court order

The directive also outlines steps that members of the public, patients and institutions can take to report discriminatory treatment or conduct by health care providers.

The document appears to be part of a desperate government effort to appease international donors and partners following global outrage and aid cuts in response to the signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

In a letter, HIV activists on Tuesday described the directive as a “useful attempt” but said that it is unlikely to inspire confidence in members of the LGBT community who fear being jailed for life simply for engaging in consensual same-sex sex.

They also pointed out that in April an American-funded HIV clinic in Kampala was raided after police claimed that it was “recruiting” gay people, which compromised the rights of patients in the clinic.

The activists insisted that despite the directive, there is an “immediate need” to scrap the entire Anti-Homosexuality Act because it continues to jeopardise Uganda’s public health.

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