Connect with us

Global Affairs

Major aid donors found to have funded ‘conversion therapy’ clinics in Africa | Global development

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The UK government is among major aid donors to have funded clinics in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania that offer so-called “conversion therapies”, which pressurise gay people to “quit” same-sex attraction, an investigation has found.

In a six-month undercover investigation of the centres, reporters from global news website openDemocracy were told being gay is “evil”, “for whites” and a mental health problem. Among them were facilities linked to some of the world’s biggest aid donors, including USAid and the British government’s fund, UK Aid, run by organisations such as UK-based MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International) and Swiss-based Global Fund.

Yvee Oduor from the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya called for aid donors to redirect their funding, adding that “we already have clinics and health centres run by LGBTQI+ people all over the country. Why not fund these community initiatives?”

Conversion therapy refers to physical treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been condemned by more than 60 associations of doctors, psychologists and counsellors worldwide.

The British government pledged to introduce a ban on conversion therapy in 2018, but in May announced that a public consultation will be held before any measures are taken. Amnesty International this week urged the government to urgently introduce a “blanket ban” on conversion therapy, fearing a consultation could lead to opt-outs for religious groups.

The openDemocracy reporters said they visited facilities that had been flagged in previous research with more than 50 LGBTQ+ people in east Africa. Conversion therapy activities were found in 12 out of the 15 clinics they visited. Counselling was the most common method of conversion therapy offered, and in Uganda a reporter posing as an older sister to a 17-year-old was told to get him sleeping pills to prevent him from masturbating.

“Although we followed up on medical related leads, many interviewees shared experiences of conversion therapy practices in family, religious and workplace settings,” said reporter Khatondi Soita Wepukhulu.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it does not specifically fund the programme run by MSI Reproductive Choices referred to in the openDemocracy report, adding that it “conducts rigorous assessments before supporting any organisations” and that the UK government “strongly opposes the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy and is committed to introducing a UK ban”. MSI Reproductive Choices said it has launched an investigation into the allegations, and “strongly condemns this harmful, unethical practice, which goes against everything we stand for as an organisation”.

Javan Ariana, 23, a transgender sex worker, told of her experience of going to a government hospital in Uganda. “I registered my preferred names and one of them asked me if I’m a man or a woman. I explained that I was born male but that I feel female. They counselled me immediately, prayed for me and told me that what I was doing was bad,” said Ariana, who was told she was “evil” and was “going to die young”.

“One nurse said that I couldn’t get treatment in the hospital because the government says we cannot treat such people, yet I know the law says I have the right to health,” said Ariana, who was told to bring “other people like her” to the hospital so they could be “healed” too.

“After hearing such conversations I was traumatised and scared, thinking that they might even give me the wrong medication and maybe I would end up dying. I didn’t even get the medication I needed – I just went home and stayed with my sickness.”

Under laws from colonial times, gay sex is punishable by life imprisonment in Uganda. The Sexual Offences Bill 2019, which is awaiting presidential assent, reduces the sentence to 10 years – but has broadened the criminalisation of homosexuality to include the criminalisation of women who have sex with women.

Members of the LGBT+ community including Jayne Ozanne and Peter Tatchell lead an anti conversion therapy demonstration outside the cabinet office in London, 23 June
Members of the LGBT+ community, including Jayne Ozanne and Peter Tatchell, lead an anti conversion therapy demonstration outside the cabinet office in London, 23 June. Photograph: Elliott Franks

In a statement in May, Human Rights Watch Africa director Mausi Segun called on President Museveni to reject the bill, which she argues “does not do enough for survivors, conflates consensual sexual acts with violence, and offers tools to persecute LGBT people and sex workers in Uganda”.

The investigation found an HIV clinic at a Kampala public hospital – specifically catering to marginalised groups, including LGBTQ+ people – was implicated. The clinic is run by Ugandan organisation Most At Risk Populations Initiative (Marpi), which won a $420,000 (£305,000) USAid grant in 2019, and gets funding from the Global Fund. USAid did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment. The Global Fund said it had “zero tolerance for any action that limits access to health services or that may encourage or promote any form of discrimination or violence”.

Tevin, 21, was taken for therapy at another Kampala hospital by her father when she was 18. The psychiatrist asked Tevin how gay she felt on a scale of one to 10. “I told her 10, why would I feel any less? I’ve been gay all my life,” Tevin said. “She told my dad if he paid I could have surgery for my brain that would make me straight, but that I had to finish high school first.” She said she was willing to go through with it if it would make her straight – and make her parents happy. Tevin believes that the psychiatrist may just have been trying to extort money from her family, but the effect was that she felt “sick and damaged, like I needed to be treated”.

“If you’re a person that has self denial it will give you false hope that you can be what you’re not. It also takes away the chance of parents accepting us for who we are, because they think they can just pay money to make us straight.

“It just makes life a whole lot harder for us.”

Source link

Global Affairs

UK Pharmacists Warn Medicine Shortages Put Patients at Risk

Voice Of EU

Published

on

https://sputniknews.com/20220811/uk-pharmacists-warn-medicine-shortages-put-patients-at-risk-1099473684.html

feedback@sputniknews.com

+74956456601

MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“

2022

Oleg Burunov

https://cdnn1.img.sputniknews.com/img/07e4/09/0b/1080424846_0:0:2048:2048_100x100_80_0_0_3d7b461f8a98586fa3fe739930816aea.jpg

Oleg Burunov

https://cdnn1.img.sputniknews.com/img/07e4/09/0b/1080424846_0:0:2048:2048_100x100_80_0_0_3d7b461f8a98586fa3fe739930816aea.jpg

News

en_EN

Sputnik International

feedback@sputniknews.com

+74956456601

MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“

https://cdnn1.img.sputniknews.com/img/107214/67/1072146771_106:0:1813:1280_1920x0_80_0_0_9c5ad3383bf580b8caba04b1534ad2d9.jpg

Sputnik International

feedback@sputniknews.com

+74956456601

MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“

uk, national health service (nhs), shortages, medicine, patients, risk, survey

Subscribe

International
India

The issue first came to the fore in April, when shortages of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs resulted in an outcry, with doctors warning that some women will resort to unorthodox methods to get the medication they need.

British pharmacists have expressed concern over medicine shortages in the UK, which they believe put patients at risk, a new poll has revealed.

A survey of 1,562 UK pharmacists for the Pharmaceutical Journal found that more than 54% of respondents said that patients had been put at risk in the last six months due to drug shortages.

The outlet cited an unnamed pharmacist from a children’s hospital in England as saying that problems pertaining to variable supply of nutritional products may pose threat to patients’ health.

“We had to ration it, and this has potentially put patients at risk of vitamin deficiencies,” the pharmacist pointed out.

A member of the London Ambulance Service (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.07.2022

UK’s NHS Faces Worst Staffing Crisis in its History

They were echoed by another hospital pharmacist, who voiced alarm about drugs being unavailable at the end of a patient’s life.

“There was no alternative for one patient who had to deal with an additional symptom in his last days of life due to lack of available treatment,” the source told the Pharmaceutical Journal.

The same tone was struck by Mike Dent, director of pharmacy funding at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, who said in an interview with the journal that they are “becoming increasingly concerned about medicine supply issues and the very serious impact this is having on both community pharmacy teams and their patients.”

A spokesperson for the UK Department of Health and Social Care, in turn, stressed that they “take patient safety extremely seriously, and […] routinely share information about medicine supply issues directly with the NHS [National Health Service] so they can put plans in place to reduce the risk of any shortage impacting patients, including offering alternative medication.”

“We have well-established procedures to deal with medicine shortages and work closely with industry, the NHS and others to prevent shortages and resolve any issues as soon as possible,” the spokesperson added.

The remarks followed the UK government issuing a number of “medicine supply notifications,” which highlight shortages of a whole array of key drugs, including live­-saving ones such as antibiotics, insulin and antidepressants.

A veteran wearing a Royal Hospital Chelsea hat, and in PPE (personal protective equipment) of a face mask, as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, stands outside the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London  - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.08.2022

NHS Faces ‘Sprint’ to Tackle Threat of Flu, New COVID Wave & Cost of Living Crisis, Health Sec Warns

The issue first came to light at the end of April 2022, when a shortage of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medication left some women in the UK sharing prescriptions and feeling suicidal. HRT is used to relieve most symptoms of menopause and it works by replacing hormones that are at a lower level.

According to the UK newspaper Express, drug shortages “are being caused by a shortage of raw ingredients used to manufacture medicines. These are often supplied by countries in the Far East. There are also rising costs set by pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesalers.”



Source link

Continue Reading

Global Affairs

Cannabis: Canada to spend $200 million on medical marijuana for veterans | International

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The Canadian government is on track to spend CA$200 million (around $154 million) on medical marijuana for veterans, an increase of 30% compared to 2021 and 135% compared to 2019. Since 2008, Canada’s Veteran Affairs has been reimbursing former military personnel for what they spend on medically prescribed marijuana.

Canada legalized recreational cannabis in October 2018 (the second country to make such a regulatory change after Uruguay). The government of Justin Trudeau justified the measure as a move to fight organized crime and ensure the safety of consumers. Marijuana for medicinal use, however, has been legal in Canada since 2001. The Canadian Health Ministry backed its decision on the grounds that studies show it can be beneficial for patients who suffer from problems such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.

In 2008, after overcoming various legal disputes, Veteran Affairs approved a measure to reimburse war veterans for the cost of medicinal marijuana, although reimbursements were to be decided on a case-by-case basis. In 2011, the authorities simplified the procedure to make it accessible to more candidates. That year, 37 people were reimbursed for a total amount of CA$103,400 (81,000). In November 2016, the ministry modified its compensation rules, reducing the daily limit from 10 grams a day to three. The current maximum rate for refunds is $8.50 per gram.

Veteran Affairs stated that medical cannabis is “a developing area of treatment,” and it will continue to review information and “adjust the policy as necessary to guarantee the welfare of veterans and their families.” A Canadian Senate commission called for such a review in 2019, emphasizing the positive results of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, in particular as an effective substitute for highly addictive opioids against chronic pain. Senators also said that the maximum price needs to be constantly evaluated, as costs may exceed what some veterans can afford.

According to the latest data, some 18,000 ex-combatants were reimbursed for medicinal marijuana in 2021, which equated to CA$153 million ($118 million) in federal spending. While experts largely support the plan for veterans, they say it should be accompanied by psychosocial support, especially in cases of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Source link

Continue Reading

Global Affairs

Campaigners call on UN Women to pull out of BlackRock partnership | Women’s rights and gender equality

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The UN agency responsible for promoting gender equality is being urged to pull out of a partnership with BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment fund manager, over the company’s “record of prioritising profits over human rights or environmental integrity”.

Hundreds of women’s organisations and activists have written to UN Women demanding it rescind the partnership.

The letter, sent on Tuesday to Sima Sami Bahous, UN Women’s executive director, and her two deputies, Åsa Regnér and Anita Bhatia, said the partnership “gives BlackRock a veneer of feminist approval that it clearly does not merit”.

While details of the collaboration have not been made public, BlackRock published a statement on its website in May saying it had signed “a memorandum of understanding” with the UN agency “agreeing to cooperate in promoting the growth of gender lens investing”.

BlackRock has faced pressure from environmental activists to improve its climate action policies, given its vast holdings in fossil fuel companies, and wide global reach.

The asset manager has investments in some of the world’s largest weapons sales companies, the letter said, noting that BlackRock is “consistently” ranked among the worst performers on corporate accountability by civil society watchdogs.

From left to right: Pam Chan of BlackRock, UN Women representative Anita Bhatia and Isabelle Mateos y Lago of BlackRock at Davos this year.
From left to right: Pam Chan of BlackRock, UN Women representative Anita Bhatia and Isabelle Mateos y Lago of BlackRock at Davos this year. Photograph: UN Photo

The letter, signed by almost 600 groups and individuals, said BlackRock also holds large amounts of debt in Zambia and Sri Lanka. It was among the private sector lenders that refused to delay debt interest payments to prevent Zambia’s finances from collapsing. The country has had to cut health and social care spending by a fifth in the past two years to balance its budget, cuts that have disproportionately affected women and marginalised groups.

Sanam Amin, a Bangladeshi academic and activist, said: “We want this agreement to be rescinded. This will not have a positive outcome for UN Women or the feminist organisations it is working with.”

She said BlackRock was using UN Women for bluewashing and pinkwashing purposes, and that it was “a fantasy” to imagine that “gender-impact investment can keep investment bankers rich and also save the world”.

“This is an illusion and relies on the labour and resources of marginalised communities in a gendered fashion, in the global south and across global supply chains.”

This is not the first time UN Women has been criticised for partnering with the private sector. In 2015, after pressure from women’s groups, the organisation backed out of a deal with Uber to encourage 1 million women to sign up as drivers.

Emilia Reyes, a feminist activist, said a lack of money was driving the UN into partnerships with the private sector. “We are calling for member states to fulfil their commitments on funding for UN departments as a whole,” she said. “In the search for extra funding, [UN bodies] are undermining their mandate and pushing conflicts of interest inside the UN.”

A spokesperson for UN Women said it “understands the concerns of its civil society partners”, which “merit consideration”. They said the partnership had been “put on hold”.

BlackRock said the money it managed belonged to its clients, many of whom made their own investment decisions. It added: “We highly value UN Women’s leadership in advancing women’s empowerment around the world and respect their decision to put the agreement on hold while they review their strategy for private sector partnerships.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!