Despite new law, Ugandan health minister promises gays will still have confidential healthcare

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Uganda’s health minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, told the Associated Press on Wednesday, February 26 that despite the country’s new anti-gay law, the LGBT community will not face discrimination when it came to healthcare.

Rugunda told BBC News, “Nobody will be discriminated [against]from public healthcare simply because of his or her sexual orientation. Health workers will live up to their ethics of keeping confidentiality [with]their patients.”

Rugunda added that a clause in the bill, which originally required medical workers to report homosexuals to the police, was removed before it was signed on Monday, February 24.

He also said he doesn’t believe the US will reduce funding to Uganda, but if it does, they will cope. Uganda’s fragile health system relies heavily on foreign aid.

So far Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark have already officially limited or frozen aid to the country, with Sweden and the US still debating the issue. Whilst the Netherlands directly cut aid to the judicial system, Norway and Denmark diverted their aid to non-governmental organizations.

Several gay rights activists have already spoken out against the aid cuts, saying it would only further hatred towards the LGBT community, which would be blamed for the economic drop.

The new law will impose life imprisonment on “repeat offenders” of homosexual activity and introduces jail time for the “promotion” of homosexuality, as well as for those who do not report LGBT people to the police.

According to Ugandan authorities, President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill “to demonstrate Uganda’s independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation.”

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