In Mumbai, a step towards inclusive healthcare for LGBTQ+ community

In April, during the LGBTQ cell’s meeting with former state health minister Rajesh Tope, representatives of the community demanded access to health services and expressed their concerns over taboos linked to the community

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Sunday, September 25, 2022, 09:12 AM IST
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Representative Image | File

Months after the Maharashtra LGBTQ Cell approached former state health minister Rajesh Tope seeking dedicated wards at hospitals, the Directorate of Health Services has decided to reserve beds for transgender persons at a civic-run and a state-run hospital.

However, the hospitals haven’t been chosen yet.

In April, during the LGBTQ cell’s meeting with Tope, representatives of the community had demanded access to health services and expressed their concerns over taboos linked to the community.

They had spoken about stigmatisation, social exclusion and consequent banishment from the mainstream, further making access to health services an uphill task.

Now, the Directorate of Health Services has said that a policy is underway for the transgender community and the names of two hospitals with dedicated beds will soon be finalised.

Maharashtra president of the LGBTQ Cell, Priya Patil said there have been innumerable instances wherein they have faced discrimination at both government and civic-run hospitals.

She said, “There is too much inequity and prejudice. The community can only afford treatment at civic or state-run hospitals but due to discrimination most of them get treated at local dispensaries or anti-retroviral therapy (ART) centres. There’s therefore a pressing need for dedicated wards in city hospitals for which meetings with the minister and higher officials were conducted,” she said.

Last month, the community was also brought under the ambit of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY), to provide inclusive and composite health services at empanelled hospitals.

State Director of Health Services Dr Sadhana Tayade said there were meetings with government officials, deans and medical superintendent of the civic and state-run hospitals where the matter regarding dedicated beds was discussed.

“We are making a policy to reserve beds for the community as they, too, have equal rights. Meanwhile, more meetings are planned to finalise the hospitals,” she said.

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