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Aids cuts, loan delays hit Uganda’s economy, poor health sector

Friday, February 28, 2014

Rebecca Vassie, AP
A newly-diagnosed HIV positive woman, who arrived at a Kampala hospital on Thursday, Feb. 27, with symptoms of tuberculosis (TB), receives treatment at the Mildmay Uganda clinic, which receives funding from the US government through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Uganda’s government has been hit with substantial aid cuts after the president enacted a severe anti-gay measure over which some Western governments had warned of consequences.

KAMPALA, Uganda — The health project in Uganda for which the World Bank is delaying a loan does not face an immediate shortage of money, an official said Friday, allaying concerns that work to improve maternal and child health services could stall because of the country’s new anti-gay law.

The Ugandan government’s decision to strengthen anti-gay legislation has upset the East African country’s relationship with development partners, part of the unfolding fallout from the enactment of a bill over which Uganda had been warned there would be consequences.

At least three European countries are withholding millions in aid to Uganda’s government, the United States is warning of similar action, and the Ugandan shilling has been losing its value amid reports of substantial aid cuts.

Now the World Bank is delaying a $90 million loan to Uganda’s Health Ministry – money intended for a project to strengthen the country’s health systems – because it want s to ensure that the development objectives of the project would not be adversely affected by the anti-gay law.

The $144 million project focuses on maternal health, newborn care and family planning – public health areas whose grim figures have long attracted the attention of foreign donors.

At least 16 Ugandan women die in childbirth daily, a shocking statistic that made the project critical in this East African country that depends on donors for about 20 percent of its budget. Announcing the project in 2010, the World Bank noted that without “significant investments” Uganda was “unlikely to achieve the Millennium Development Goal targets related to reducing child mortality and improving maternal mortality.”

The project is set to close in 2015.

Sheila Gashishiri, a spokeswoman for the World Bank in Uganda, said Friday that the project will continue despite the postponement.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who enacted the law Monday amid Western pressure to veto the bill, may have anticipated the international backlash his government now faces.

Days before he signed the bill, Museveni said he was ready to fight what he called “the homosexual lobby” and urged lawmakers with the ruling party to support him.

In signing the law, he said he wanted to stop the west from promoting homosexuality in Africa. Critics say Museveni, who has held power since 1986 and is up for re-election in 2016, may have calculated that the political benefits of enacting the bill outweighed any losses on the international front.

Homosexuality is criminalized in many parts of Africa. Nigeria last month passed an anti-gay law. But the Ugandan law – an earlier version of it included the death penalty for some homosexual acts -has become notorious around the world for its severe punishment of gay sex.

The law sets a life term for those convicted of engaging in gay sex. It also creates the offenses of “conspiracy to commit homosexuality” and “aiding and abetting homosexuality,” both of which are punishable by seven years behind bars. Those convicted of “promoting homosexuality” face similar punishment.

Uganda’s law has been condemned by the United Nations, the United States, and several rights watchdog groups.

Ugandan officials insist the law has wide support at home.

Ofwono Opondo, a spokesman for Uganda’s government, said in a series of Twitter posts Friday that the West “shouldn’t force homosexuality on Uganda.”

Western aid cuts over the anti-gay law, he said, amounts to “blackmail.”

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67 more reader comments:

  1. too sad.. then change your ways…

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:38pm
  2. That’s what they ask for, no whining now!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:39pm
  3. I feel sorry for the citizens of the country, but I’m kinda glad to see the country suffer. Maybe it’ll teach the government officials that we’re all humans.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:40pm
  4. Sorry for them since they didn’t cause what the government did, very sad

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:41pm
  5. Owell.. I walk/drive down the streets and see homeless people suffering in our country…
    I am not going to feel for any other country till ours is better….

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:43pm
  6. You know what pisses me off is that Uganda is NOT a poor country. But the “officials” and people in power are so GREEDY that they do NOT give to their own people. So other countries come in to assist. What’s even sadder is that I know that with the aid cuts, they won’t do a damned thing to help their own country. They’ll sit by and watch them die. It’s sad. It’s sad that it had to come to this due to ignorance. :(

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:44pm
  7. FUCK ‘EM. Cut ALL US aid to these assholes, & cancel this loan. When they realize how fucked up their President is, & throw his ass out, then consider going back, bit otherwise, Let them all die slow deaths. I have NO SYMPATHY for any of them. ASSHOLES! It’s called payback bitches.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:44pm
  8. The vast majority do support the law, to lay the blame solely at the feet of their government is nieve. The same goes for Russia.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:44pm
  9. BS, the vast majority didn't support the Nazis they were just too lazy/scared to do anything til it was them the government came after.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:03pm
  10. I hate to say it, but Bryan is making a correct statement according to info provided by polls. The caveat being the same for all polls, they never include the addendum of who was not polled. For example: here in Michigan an outdated poll is being cited to say that voters still support a same sex marriage ban, the poll was taken in 2010 in majorly religious and elderly populated areas here. It's damned if we do, damned if we don't scenario.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:09pm
  11. However, who came to Uganda to help them develop this policy was the American Evangelist Church. These are the people responsible for planting Hate all over the World.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:36pm
  12. 75 % of Uganda is agree with the law

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:37pm
  13. whenever the evangelicals get involved. There will be a showdown.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:48pm
  14. So what. Most American agreed with slavery to. Until we made a law banning it. And most people here in the US still think gays shouldn't have rights. But it shouldn't be about the majority. It should be about protecting everyone.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:42pm
  15. We should not give Uganda one penny.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:29pm
  16. Ashley Varboncoeur and what do you do when you see these homeless people? And we all live on this EARTH, humanity itself and the quality of life will never improve with that attitude. Everyone needs to help each other and revolt against the people that say other wise!! VIVA LA RESISTANCE

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:48pm
  17. Stop being religious idiotic cavemen and you may get money back.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:49pm
  18. Uganda will burn and wither away into the ashes of history if they don’t look forward into the future along with the rest of humanity. The same goes for the rest of the eastern nations.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:50pm
  19. No money for Uganda they do not care for their citizens anyway. We cannot continue to fund and thus condone hate. If a country cannot survive so be it some are beyond help

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:52pm
  20. These comments sadden me. While they cannot be excused for their treatment of their homosexual population, and that SHOULD be changed, there is also NO EXCUSE for any of us to say “good” or take delight in the suffering of any people. How can you work so hard for your own personal freedoms, and then scoff at the suffering of people who are kept ignorant and poor by their own country? Most of the population of Uganda suffers under incredible oppression, not addressed properly by any outside nations, much as the rest of Africa. It’s a place of terrible suffering all the time. Anyone who would take delight in this, it just makes me sad.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:52pm
  21. I am glad we aren't giving support to Uganda then I see all those suffering and I wonder if this is really the right choice.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:56pm
  22. It's a really messed up situation all around, I don't even know if there IS a right choice, but delighting in people's suffering should NEVER happen

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:57pm
  23. Most of the population of Uganda (The same that "suffers under incredible opression") Is ok with kill the gays bill! Let's not forget that. Cause that means that they are ok with segregate,put criminal penalties and possible future genocide of a portion of a population.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:00pm
  24. Because, again, they are kept ignorant and raised to hate. By letting them die off by starvation and poor medical care, would that not also be genocide?

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:02pm
  25. The nations funding the World Bank must be held accountable for funding gay bashing genocidal dictators because they are also responsible for gay bashing genocide. The federal government in the USA cannot claim to be for LGBT rights while denying us our rights in the USA and while funding through the World Bank nations that kill gay people.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:37pm
  26. I'm not paying them to jail gay people. Maybe you need to experience what is hate crime yourself to understand. So I hope you get to experience one soon.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:40pm
  27. I'm sure it makes Gus feel like a big man to say he hopes a hate crime happens to a mother of four. Thanks for showing your true colors. We all know what sort of person you are now. I try to spread a message of peace, and he spreads the same hatred that the president of Uganda is infecting the country with. Exactly how does that help advance the rights of the LGBT community? Gus, and people like him, are part of the problem, not the solution. I hope he finds help, but I've blocked him because, at least on Facebook, I don't have to deal with that kind of trash.

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:02pm
  28. Well that’s thier fault lol

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:53pm
  29. Sorry but we will not help this country anymore.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:54pm
  30. It was Uganda’s president the one who said that financial help wasn’t as important as morals…Now let’s see how their morals pay for their healthcare,food issues and violence against women (That by the way it’s ok under Unganda’s morals)

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:55pm
  31. Money should not be sent just what they need like meds, equipment, and eduction .

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:56pm
  32. Ashley, you should feel for people no matter what country. I’m gay and I feel for the people who didn’t implement this policy. I’m glad some sort of line has been drawn and life in prison is absurd for loving who you love. But to not feel for a struggling people who are now struggling more is morally repugnant.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:57pm
  33. This is all due to backwards religion thrust into an uneducated society. I feel bad for the people who don’t support the insanity. But, the president knew exactly what was going to happen.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:57pm
  34. Thank you amelia!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:59pm
  35. Their poor should have already been demanding to know why all their leaders are so fat and wealthy while they lived in poverty. I don’t feel sorry for them. They are as homophobic as their leaders.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:01pm
  36. under their new law just going and getting treated for aids will be a crime as they consider that the result of being gay

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:02pm
  37. There is many people in US that don’t have access to meds…. Here in US we have the need for those funds… I don’t want my taxes to pay for people’s treatment in other country while we have people in our country without access. Sorry for the people of Uganda and I will keep prayers for them. Their President Stated that they don’t need aid from any country…. good, we need these funds for the US citizens.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:05pm
  38. Amelia, these people live in America or somewhere where they basically grew up being able o make their own decisions and seek out education on issues. The idea that these people were indoctrinated and born into a completely distopian society completely escapes them.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:06pm
  39. Oh well hope they feel the pinch now

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:09pm
  40. The US or anyone should care because??? The president seems to have all the answers so let him figure it out… Uneducated fuckers

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:11pm
  41. Wes, these people grew up poor and oppressed and with the clear knowledge that they were to think as the government or else. They need education and a new governmental system, I am glad some sort of action has finally happened so the world can somehow show them how wrong this thinking is but I don’t think the c’mon people of Uganda have much blame in this matter.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:15pm
  42. Has anyone considered the fact that as we deny aid to countries like Uganda, that like-minded nations will undoubtedly double their support to further solidify any alliances they may have or wish to have. Certainly Putin will provide them with the aid we do not. If we are to be a world divided, we must certainly continue to aid nations who clearly wish for the freedoms we enjoy, lest we become outnumbered by tyranny when the next great war is thrust upon us by government unrest.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:20pm
  43. Civil rights in America should Never be up to the people to vote on Ever!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:22pm
  44. I believe it was the world bank that has withdrawn aid.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:24pm
  45. And I agree that this was necessary, but don’t blame the people of Uganda and certainly in the spirit of compassion don’t like seeing people uncared for because their government are heathens.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:26pm
  46. the Ugandan government are NOT heathens - they are ChristoNazis

    Replied on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:39pm
  47. Self inflicted. Failed to keep up, so they’ll be left behind, and they knew it.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:29pm
  48. The Government of Uganda insist that they don’t need humanitarian aid.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:33pm
  49. Sorry if straight people are suffering, at least they have the right to seek medical treatment without fear of going to prison or death for being gay

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:37pm
  50. What the fuck are we giving them money we can’t even take care of are people fuck Africa

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:41pm
  51. thats right

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:42pm
  52. :(

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:43pm
  53. I bet 75% of hostages agree with the people holding knives at their throats. And I bet 75% of children share many views with the parents who raised them. Those numbers don’t really mean much to me. Again as unfortunate as it is this needed to happen but to blame the citizens and be happy they aren’t receiving proper care is sad

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:43pm
  54. Amelia Burton you ask how can someone fight for personal freedoms for themselves and scoff at the rest of the world’s suffering because of a lack of personal freedoms.
    Unfortunately self preservation is built into the human psyche, in that we all want to have the freedom to do what we want, when we want, how we want. But out side of are own small world that ech of us live in we don’t much care about what happens to anyone else. As long as we get what we want.
    That is why we all fight each other so ferociously! In the mind of a religious person upholding that religion is all that matters. In the mind of a LGBT (im gay) equal rights is the only thing that matters. I look at it like this would not be happening if Uganda haven’t signed that bill. And in the mind of the religious government leaders this would not be happening if the LGBTs of the world had not corrected the government’s that Fund they’re clinics.
    And so we go on fighting for what we think is right and the helpless & poor will continue to be caught in the middle.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:45pm
  55. Which might be working towards the presidents favor. The people he detests the most will likely pass away because of this…. and he doesnt get his hands dirty.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:49pm
  56. Sorry but it has to start some where some of these people will kill gays too. just because someone is in need od medical care doesn’t make them worthy of it…

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:51pm
  57. Too bad these people have to suffer the consequences of their ignorant and bigoted leaders… But then again a lot of these people in Uganda believe killing gays/LGBT persons is a righteous thing. There was a time, not that long ago when killing off Jews or Blacks was seen as a righteous thing. History repeats itself yet humanity does not take heed at the lessons.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:08pm
  58. What’s sad is it’s probably a few people making decisions for everyone. We need to get people out of there

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:17pm
  59. The World bank denied them funds, not the U. S., the U. S.’s only involvement, in any political sense, was John Kerry and President Obama’s criticism of the law that was passed. Most of these people in the private sector of Uganda have to agree with their government no matter who is in charge or face imprisonment or death themselves, gays are not the only ones with a target on their backs in countries like this. Most of the areas in Africa are in a constant state of flux with wars and infighting going on all the time, hell the president of Uganda probably won’t even be in power this time next year, he may very well be dead after another coup and rebellion in which some other faction takes power. Happens a lot there unfortunately, but make no mistake the people, wether they truly believe in the law or not, are just a vulnerable to violent action being taken against them just as much as the homosexual community in Uganda. Not all Germans believed in the Nazi party or what they stood for but they had to go along with it lest they and their families face execution as enemies of the state. Even soldiers in the regular army had to follow the orders given them or they and their families could suffer the same fate. It’s not always cut and dry, is it an atrocity to kill someone for being who they were born to be? Of course it is, but who has to stand up and change things? America? England? China? Japan? Nope the people of Uganda do, they are the only ones who can, if denying them monies to improve their lives will get them off their collective asses to do it then deny them. Homosexuals have been on this earth living their lives since the dawn of man, people just haven’t been paying attention, they will be here till the end of man. ALL PEOPLE deserve respect and to be treated fairly, just because one group of people doesn’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle doesn’t make it wrong, just wrong for them and not for nothin, I’ll be damned if some son of a bitch down the road I’ve never even met and who doesn’t know me is gonna tell me what I can or cannot do, if I ain’t breaking any laws they can mind their own fuckin business. I proudly stand with the homosexual community, it’s not my place to tell another man or woman how to live…..last I checked…I ain’t God or any variation and truthfully I really don’t think a being wanting me to love my neighbor would be to fond of the idea…….just sayin

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:18pm
  60. This is sad that leaders care more about elections and votes than doing what they know is right and the right thing for the people. Happens here all the time just look at congress . we need to revap our system ! I blame their leaders not the people but unfortunately it’s the people who always do the suffering . the gay community here has suffered so much due to religious oppression from extremist groups. We have to make a stand to do what is right how would you feel if your child was sent to prison for life ? And only for being who they are ..not for some horrific crime but simply for who they are and who they love. I’m sorry if they suffer but they need to learn that doing wrong is not condoned nor rewarded . we have be heard to save Innocent lives .

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:30pm
  61. I feel its not fair for the children, i realize the bigotry is B.S. but doesn’t that lower ourselves to there level?

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:35pm
  62. Idk, maybe I’m just a hippie but I think everyone deserves medical care

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:41pm
  63. fuck uganda, i couldnt give a shit what happens in that shit hole of a county

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:17pm
  64. Sad, the most vulnerable get hit the hardest. Shame on the Uganda government.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:21pm
  65. There is no way there would be an effect right now.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:22pm
  66. Let them rot rot rot! i hope the decomposing stage will be fast!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:27pm
  67. I don’t feel bad. Not to mention these welfare nations have been taking money from other countries for far to long.

    Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:35pm