Right now, in Uganda, the Parliament is considering an "Anti-Homosexuality" Bill that, if passed, would be one of the world's most draconian laws against homosexuality---and a horrifying violation of human rights. Uganda, once the darling of international AIDS circles for its efforts to stop the pandemic, is now becoming a pariah for even considering this bill, which includes the death penalty for "aggrevated homosexuality."
While in Uganda last week I met with PHR Health Action AIDS Advisor Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, the Director of the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC), which provides care to thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Last week, over 80 health professional students from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi and the United States gathered together in Kampala for the first East African Health and Human Rights Student Leadership Institute, sponsored by PHR and our local partner, the Action Group for Health, Human Rights, and HIV/AIDS (AGHA). This three-day event was the culmination of months of planning by student leaders, as well as PHR and AGHA staff.
What an amazing day Wednesday was! We began by visiting Sandra Kiapi at the office of Action Group for Health, Human Rights, and HIV/AIDS (AGHA). AGHA is a NGO that was founded in 2003. They have several advocacy campaigns and community-based research projects that tackle human rights issues as they relate to health, with a specific focus on HIV/AIDS.
We were on the road for quite a while on Tuesday. Lyantonde is a rural district about three or four hours driving distance southwest from Kampala. Looking out the window, I caught a glimpse of what life for ordinary Africans might be like. I don't really know what I expected; all of the imagery that I had conjured up about the continent before I came here were basically cliches from movies.