Friday, July 21, 2023

Uganda & Ghana- Kuchus and HIV in Africa (2); The Failure of Africa’s Medics & Health Care Workers (3)


Continued from the previous post: Kuchus and HIV in Africa (2); The Failure of Africa’s Medics & Health Care Workers (2)

Uganda has actually had some great results with HIV prevention and care. It is deservedly praised…, as was lavishly commented on by the UNAIDS/PEPFAR/Global Fund joint statement.
Although the statement was taken quite negatively in Uganda, I think it was quite a ‘sucking up’ in many ways. The flattery, even evidence based, is quite a lot. Maybe Winnie Byanyima, knowing the Ugandan psyche thought it better to upload with lots of diplomatic nice talk to cushion the bite in the message…

If it was that, well, it was a dud.
Ugandans are quite consistent, and human. We embrace our prejudices with fervour and our prejudice to ‘homosexuality’  is the mother of all prejudices.Our doctors as detailed are also prejudiced. They are Ugandans!

But, we still expect better of them. A laughing stork Uganda demands people to blame. The medics are very convenient here…!
The Director General of Uganda AIDS Commission did explain the issue, though the article in the Daily Monitor relegated him to an after-thought. I guess it was more profitable for the paper to fan the flames of ‘Uganda is being bullied’!

Explains Dr Nelson Musoba, DG of UAC;


““they are just taking precautions and saying for communities that may be discriminated, ‘What steps do we want to put in place to ensure that they continue accessing treatment to ensure that they continue to access treatment?’”


Egg on our collective face as Ugandans. The conveniently reviled Americans were trying to protect our prize HIV/AIDS programme? The statement said so. It is our bad faith that read nefarious ‘colonialism’, ‘blackmail’, in their words. Prejudice twists clear thinking. Uganda collectively was a great example there.

But this begs the question, with Dr Nelson Musoba, Director General of Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) knowing these probable effects of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 on HIV programming, why wasn’t the Parliament of Uganda and the President of Uganda in the know? This is established science, this day and age of the HIV pandemic surely? It wasn’t ‘the Americans’ duty to inform our in-country experts.
Rumour was, Speaker of Parliament was so rushed to pass the bill UAC was not invited to the party. But, a lot of organisations came out detailing the probable effects of the proposed law. All that fell ‘on deaf ears’ in Uganda. No appeal to sanity could have stopped us passing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023.

Why did it fall to the US ambassador in Uganda to actually secure a promise from the President that the health services would not be subject to the Reporting mandate in the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023?
It is ridiculous when the conveniently reviled Americans seem to care more about our people than we do. It is shameful, and that shame tracks back to Uganda’s medics and health care workers, the Ministry of Health and the Uganda AIDS Commission.

The American envoy to Uganda actually commented this about Dr Jane Aceng, which makes me wonder what Uganda’s Minister of Health, a medical doctor, has been saying behind closed doors.


“She reportedly took issue with Health Minister Jane Aceng, who was not in the meeting, saying her disposition on the matter of homosexuality was likely to reverse years of gains in healthcare and particularly HIV/Aids treatment, largely supported by development partners.”


That is a loaded statement, particularly coming from a diplomat.

The same challenges are happening in Ghana. But, in their case, though there are medics and health workers who don’t understand, it seems the Ghana AIDS Commission has come out against the anti-homosexuality bill in Ghana.
And, for that temerity, Members of Parliament in Ghana are condemning the Ghana AIDS Commission.
I think that that is better than in Uganda where the Ministry of Health seem both ignorant and unwilling to state facts. The doctors responsibility is to state the facts, part of that responsibility for the power we hand to our medics and health workers.

In Ghana, the anti-homosexuality bill in parliament aims to stop or reduce HIV/AIDS programming to Ghanaian Kuchus. Why? Because HIV programming is actually ‘promotion of homosexuality’.
The bills in our parliaments, plural, aim to stop the heinous ‘promotion of homosexuality’.

If true, and Ghanaian MPs are refusing to listen to the Ghana AIDS Commission…, well, please don’t blame ‘the Americans’ for our own ignorance, and failure to be educated because of prejudice. We are sovereign in that.

It is the member of the clan who should point out that the elder didn’t wash face in the morning. Not to wait for a guest or visitor.
Yeah, and as an African, I am pointing out to my dear leaders and elders-, your are walking around naked, with unwashed faces. You are embarrassing us, please!



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