When Comic Relief invited me to Uganda for Red Nose Day to meet families affected by malaria, I was worried and scared in equal measures. Worried about how I would cope with hearing from parents who have lost children to this deadly disease, and scared that I too could get bitten by a malaria infected mosquito and fall sick.
Uganda's notorious 'Kill the Gays' Anti-Homosexuality Bill will soon be revived in parliament. The country's prime minister Amama Mbabazi' has indicated that the government of Uganda might not back the harsher aspects of the bill but may agree to a crackdown on the advocacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights. This may not be as bad as the death penalty but it is still a grave infringement of freedom of expression and a violation of the Ugandan constitution and international human rights law.
While the M23 rebels - who mutinied from the Congolese army last May - remain within striking distance of the key border town of Goma, the regional and international diplomatic wrangling goes on. Fractious peace talks between the rebel leaders and the Congolese government in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, will resume on 4 January.
If the bill is passed it's likely to lead to even more HIV infections in politically isolated populations, especially among men who have sex with men. They will be prevented from having access to essential public health information, such as how to protect themselves from HIV and how to access life saving treatment and support services that are stigma-free.
As David Cameron declares the UK would support a "safe passage" for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, if it was to stop the the bloodshed in the count...
The Advertiser for Africa campaign was not only a chance for me to see what is happening in Uganda, but it was an opportunity for readers to find out exactly where their money was going. So many large charities operate "top down" schemes, whereby the directors skim off a layer of donations and the rest gets swallowed up and unaccounted for.
William Hague argued that Britain needs to get over its feelings of "post-colonial guilt", stating that we have a "new and equal partnership" with countries unburdened by our colonial past history. Apparently we all need to 'relax', because Britain's empire history is "no longer an issue for the rest of the world." Is that so?
I mean they can be fine to look at and the people who work in them are often fantastic, but they are by definition tough places to be. Mutago Hospital in the Ugandan capital of Kampala is a case in point. A network of covered walkways connect the different wards and straight away you get the sense that this is a clean and friendly place which, for the most part, feels like a hospital back home in the UK. Until, that is, you go into the children's ward.