Uganda: U.S. picks AIDS contractor, ousts anti-gay group

Cardno provides health services through its Uganda Health Initiatives for the Private Sector project (Photo courtesy of Cardno)
Cardno provides health services through its Uganda Health Initiatives for the Private Sector project (Photo courtesy of Cardno)

The United States has replaced the anti-gay Inter-Religious Council of Uganda as a contractor for HIV / AIDS services in Uganda.
Effective Aug. 1, the work will be done by the international health, infrastructure and environmental services firm Cardno Emerging Markets, the Ugandan New Vision newspaper reported.
Both the United States and Sweden recently announced new aid awards for Uganda.
Shortly after the signing of Uganda’s harsh Anti-Homosexuality Act in February, the United States announced that it was cutting its $6.4 million  funding for the IRCU because of that group’s strong support for the act.
At the same time, Sweden announced that it was redirecting about $1 million  in aid from Uganda’s government to pro-LGBT organizations.
Until now, anti-AIDS funding from the United States continued to flow through the IRCU — “close to $10m for anti-retroviral drugs, HIV prevention and care services for AIDS patients, orphans and vulnerable children annually,” according to New Vision, which said that the “IRCU has been channeling the HIV/AIDS funds from USAID into 19 health facilities and 82 faith-based organizations under the scaling-up comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment program through the faith-based network.”
Leslie Reed, USAID mission to Uganda (Photo courtesy of New Vision)
Leslie Reed, director of the USAID mission in Uganda (Photo courtesy of New Vision)

New Vision cited Leslie Reed, Ugandan mission director for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as the source of the information about the new contract.
Cardno, based in Australia, has affiliated Cardno Emerging Markets companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Africa.
Cardno has previously worked with USAID to encourage income-generating activities for 2 million orphans and families affected by AIDS in Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. It also has been USAID’s contractor for the $17 million Uganda Health Initiatives for the Private Sector project, which helps the Ugandan business community find affordable methods for providing health care to employees, their families and their communities.
Separately last week, the Swedish government announced $200 million  in “development strategy cooperation” for Uganda over the next five years. The money is designated for improving employment, economic growth, and child and maternal health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In making the announcement,  Reuters reported, Hillevi Engstrom, Swedish minister for international development cooperation,  said, “I will specifically monitor the situation of women’s rights and LGBT rights. It is important that LGBT people and others do not become scapegoats because of changes in Swedish aid.”


Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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