Uganda plans to be ignorant about extent of HIV among gays

Health and human rights advocates assert that Ugandan health policy planning will be harmed by the move by Uganda’s health ministry to stop health care providers from identifying if their clients are transgender, gay, lesbian or intersex.

The advocates had hoped that in order to improve disease management, homosexuals and other key populations would be given anonymous codes or pseudonyms to capture the relevant health information pertaining to each particular group.

At present, the 2014 ministerial directive on non-discrimination in access to health care has not yet been withdrawn. The directive was issued by Uganda’s current prime minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, while still a health minister after the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which later was annulled by Uganda’s constitutional court.

‘You cannot trace data’

The worry comes in the wake of Ministry of Health officials stopping health workers from registering data about homosexuals in the country’s Health Information Management System (HIMS).

“The minister wants data to be captured from patients as either male or female. The minister says homosexuals should access health care like any other Ugandan,” said Benard Sembatya, the Secretary General of LGBT advocacy organization VINACEF Uganda.

“The problem is that the health history of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex Ugandans will not reflect in HMIS for proper planning,” Sembatya said.

Already, one of the gay-friendly health access institutions in Kampala, a beneficiary of PEPFAR ( the US President’s Emergency Fund for Aids Relief) has been ordered to stop capturing data on homosexual clients. Read more via 76 Crimes