Ugandan Health Minister: Gays will not face discrimination in accessing healthcare

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Uganda’s health minister says gay citizens will not be discriminated against when accessing healthcare despite the signing into law of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Charities warn the new law will have “disastrous” effects on the country’s response to HIV.

Health Minister Ruhakana Rugunda told the Associated Press on Wednesday that a clause which would have required medical workers to report gay Ugandans to police was removed from the bill.

“All people whether they are sexual orientation as gays or otherwise are at complete liberty to get full treatment and to give full disclosure to their doctors and nurses,” he told the BBC.

Mr Rugunda added: “And by the way, health workers will live up to their ethics of keeping confidentiality of their patients.”

Politicians and campaigners around the world have strongly criticised President Yoweri Musevni for signing Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

On Monday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his “serious concern” and dismay at the decision.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced his country would be reviewing its relations with Uganda, following President Museveni’s decision.

EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton described the move as “draconian”.

Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it was “an abhorrent backwards step for human rights”.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “deeply saddened and disappointed”. 

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands on Tuesday became the first three countries to cut their aid to Uganda. 

The UK Government confirmed to PinkNews that none of its aid goes directly to the Ugandan Government.

There are already concerns of a witch-hunt against gay people in Uganda after popular tabloid Red Pepper published on Tuesday a list of the country’s “200 top homosexuals” under the headline: “Exposed”.

MSP James Dornan has called on Scotland’s Minister for External Affairs to ensure that the UK Home Office offers asylum to Ugandans outed by the Red Pepper newspaper.

In 2011, Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was killed after his name appeared in a similar list published by the now-defunct Ugandan Rolling Stone magazine, calling for the execution of gay people.