Un heard voices- tortured by the tongue

What if we consider the human rights angle before looking at someone’s HIV status? Whether one is sick or healthy they are human beings.  It is true AIDS kills but to note is the fact that stigma and discrimination are silent killers. Many people especially the young people living with HIV continue to drop out of treatment, relapse and give up because of stigma attacks.

By Sarah Akampurira

In the early 1980’s, an unknown virus surfaced in Uganda that caused a lot of fear, panic and speculations especially whenever an Individual would lose a little weight showing signs of persistent cough, diarrhea or fever. Speculations of one being infected with the Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) would be accompanied by stigma, negative utterances and fear to associate with him/her. This has continued to date affecting the young and old people living with HIV.

A lot of strides have been made by government and other partners to create awareness on HIV, signs and symptoms, transmission, prevention, care and treatment as well as availability of ARVs’ services and indeed, majority of Ugandan adults understand a fact or two about HIV. This knowledge base has a lot of real and anticipated positive consequences in the fight against HIV in Uganda.

What if we consider the human rights angle before looking at someone’s HIV status? Whether one is sick or healthy they are human beings.  It is true AIDS kills but to note is the fact that stigma and discrimination are silent killers. Many people especially the young people living with HIV continue to drop out of treatment, relapse and give up because of stigma attacks.

These are our relatives, friends, workmates that due to our behavior/utterances we continue to send them to “early graves”. On this day as we commemorate World AIDS Day, I call upon all of us to stop fueling acts of discrimination and stigma against People Living with HIV.

  • Sarah Akampurira is a Programme Specialist – Community Health & Empowerment at the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD).

Have you ever imagined the young boys and girls born with HIV who even at some point don’t understand why they are subjected to swallowing tablets on a daily basis and the kind of negativity they deal with in schools, playgrounds without even knowing why? I believe some positive energy, inclusion, dialogue, involvement can contribute greatly to achieve: the overarching goal to bring Uganda to a national coverage of 95-95-95 percent ensuring 95 percent of individuals know their diagnosis, 95 percent of those are on treatment and retained, and of those on treatment, 95 percent have obtained and maintained viral suppression.

To win the fight against HIV requires your effort as well as mine, the government won’t do it alone, research and science won’t but rather an amalgamation of efforts. Together we can actualise this year’s, theme End inequalities. End AIDS.

Human rights activist threatens German govt with lawsuit over its opposition of access to Covid vaccines in low income countries

Moses Mulumba from Uganda threatens the German federal government with a lawsuit if it does not advocate the suspension of the coronavirus patents. medico and ECCHR support him.

With vaccine shortages, millions of people are currently exposed to permanent, preventable health threats. In Uganda, for example, only just under 10 percent of the population are vaccinated, not even 2 per cent of them completely. This shortage could be overcome if vaccine patents were released and production capacities increased more quickly due to their free availability.

This is what the Ugandan human rights activist Moses Mulumba says and has therefore called on the German government to support the demand for the patents to be released – and otherwise threatened with legal action . So far, the federal government has blocked the application to suspend patents from the World Trade Organization. This is possibly unconstitutional and contrary to international law.

Moses Mulumba, Executive Director of Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD). COURTESY PHOTO


With a so-called letter of claim, Moses Mulumba, who heads a health and human rights organization in Uganda, calls on the federal government to approve the release of the patents on COVID vaccines and drugs in the upcoming WTO negotiations. If the federal government does not comply with Moses Mulumba’s request, it will face legal proceedings, because “According to international human rights treaties and the UN Charter, Germany is obliged to cooperate internationally as best as possible and to take the most effective, joint measures to combat a global pandemic participate. If Germany continues to fail to vote for a derogation from the TRIPS agreement at the World Trade Organization, The federal government must live up to Moses’ claims and thus its human rights obligations. Intellectual property rights must not take precedence over the human right to health and life, ”says Miriam Saage-Maaß from ECCHR. 

“The corona management of the federal government still in office is often and rightly under criticism. However, it is often forgotten that German government action does not only have national consequences. The federal government has been in charge of blocking the TRIPS waiver for months. And to be clear: It is blocking the central instrument for faster and more cost-effective global production of corona vaccines, which costs human lives and destroys livelihoods, ”says Anne Jung from medico international.

The letter from Moses’ lawyer was served on the Chancellor, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Economic Affairs.

The aid and human rights organization medico international and the ECCHR (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights) support Mulumba Moses legally and financially in his approach, which is part of an internationally coordinated action.

This article was first published on www.medico.de on November 25th, 2021.

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How The Legal Framework Can Catalyse The Fight Against Lung Cancer In Uganda

Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer. There is still a long way to go for us to start harvesting the fruits of the Tobacco Control Act, 2015. Massive sensitization still needs to be done.

Compiled by Syndia Chemutai

Since its inception in 2012, World Lung Cancer Day has been observed every August 1 with the aim of shining a light on this deadly disease and giving hope to those who are battling it. According to the latest WHO data published in 2018 Lung Cancer Deaths in Uganda reached 439 or 0.17% of total deaths and Uganda ranks at number 150 in the world. 

Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer. Research from the American Cancer Society has it that about 80% of lung cancer deaths result from smoking and according to Tobacco Induced Diseases (TIB), 62.2 % of daily smokers used manufactured cigarettes. There is a high prevalence of tobacco use in Uganda with almost 1 in every 10 Ugandans using tobacco products daily. Statistics from the Uganda Cancer Institute also indicate that 25 % of lung cancer patients were tobacco users.

Globally, tobacco kills nearly 6million people worldwide including 600,000 non smokers exposed to second hand smoke. Uganda ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2007. The Convention was negotiated as a Global Intervention to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, environmental and socio-economic effects of tobacco. One of the steps in fighting Lung cancer besides investing in research and improving on health infrastructure to treat Lung cancer is regulating the causes and tobacco use is one of them. It is linked to 71% of lung cancer cases. 

Uganda passed the Tobacco control Act 2015 and the Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 aimed at controlling the demand for the consumption of tobacco and its products and in the long run, promote the health of persons and reduce tobacco related illnesses and deaths. The law bans smoking in all indoor places and workplaces, on all means of public transport, and in specified outdoor public places, it also bans all tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, including product displays at points of sale. It prohibits the sale of tobacco products in specified places (health institutions, schools, prisons, and other places), among others.

I commend the government upon taking the initiative as there is an impact created by the Tobacco control Act for instance non-advertisement and promotion of tobacco has been achieved. There are however instances where the provisions have not been upheld, shisha, smokeless, and flavoured tobacco are still being consumed and people can still be seen smoking on the streets and nothing is done about it. Albeit the promulgation of the laws, their enforcement and sensitization of the masses about them should be accelerated. There is no benefit of having good laws only on paper with little or no impact at all on ground. 

There is still a long way to go for us to start harvesting the fruits of the Tobacco Control Act, 2015. Massive sensitization about it should be done, and enforcement of the same should be felt because much of the population is not aware of its existence, some still ignorantly break the laws and since they are not held accountable, they get away with it but the harm is already done. Incentives should also be given to tobacco farmers so they can channel their energies elsewhere, you cannot block their source of livelihood without giving them an option, they should also be clearly educated about the harm that they are causing the world by embarking on tobacco farming. These among other measures can go a long way in the fight against lung cancer.

The writer is an Intern in the Strategic litigation programme at the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD).