Our Statement on Uganda’s New Anti-Homosexuality Act

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Seed Global Health is very concerned for the health of the citizens of Uganda with the signing of the new Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023. 

The Anti-Homosexuality Act, which criminalizes anyone who  identifies as LGBTQI+, will have harsh consequences both for the people of Uganda and the health workers who serve them. 

The Act not only violates the fundamentals of medical ethics – do no harm, act in the best interest of the patient, ensure fairness – but also the spirit of universal health coverage, in which all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them. Access to health care for all is also fundamental to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This law will stop patients from disclosing their sexual orientation to health workers, stop many from seeking care, and potentially prevent them from accessing timely and lifesaving treatment. Further, the stigma, paranoia, and blackmail of potential ‘outings’ would put many in harm’s way – whether that means a person is denied treatment because they are suspected of identifying as LGBTQ+ or health workers are targeted for giving treatment and not disclosing information.

Health workers across the world are bound by an oath to provide health care to all people without discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, age, socioeconomic status, or geographical location. They also cannot violate the confidence of the clinical consultation. The Anti-Homosexuality Act undermines the fundamental basics of health care, medical ethics, and will further complicate the challenging circumstances in which many health workers already find themselves. 

Over the past decade, Seed Global Health has partnered with the Uganda Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and Sports to train more than 9,000 physicians, nurses, and midwives to improve access to high-quality health care. Most recently, we helped equip health workers with the information, resources, and skills they needed to successfully fight the 2022 Ebola outbreak. We remain deeply committed to the health and well-being of our colleagues, partners, the health workers we train, and the patients they serve.  

By putting both patients and health workers in harm’s way, the decision to enact this bill into law will set back the progress Uganda has made towards improving the health of its citizens – including tackling stubbornly high maternal mortality rates, cutting deaths from HIV and AIDS, and increasing equitable access to health services for all.

Uganda can continue to be a leader in strengthening health services, improving health outcomes, and making progress toward achieving universal health coverage by reconsidering the Anti-Homosexuality Act.


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