New Clinic aims to address Healthcare Disparities and improve access
The Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) in Lucknow is preparing to open a transgender clinic, a significant step towards offering inclusive and accessible healthcare services in the public healthcare sector.
Talking to the media during an awareness workshop titled 'Medical Issues of Transgenders: The Right to Health Initiative,' recently Prof. R. K. Dhiman, Director of the SGPGIMS, informed that the session, conducted by the departments of hepatology and endocrinology, as well as the PGI Education Foundation, aimed to create awareness among healthcare professionals about the medical concerns that transgender people confront along with the barriers they face in getting healthcare.
Emphasising the importance of recognising transgender people, Prof. Dhiman said, "Transgenders are people who perceive their gender identity as different from their gender by birth. Due to societal challenges, they face difficulties and stigmatisation in accessing healthcare facilities."
"They confront difficulty and stigma in obtaining healthcare facilities as a result of societal problems," he added.
The transgender community believes that the development of a dedicated clinic will solve a variety of difficulties they confront, resulting in a more inclusive and friendly healthcare environment in the hospital.
During the event, a panel of experts spoke about the medical challenges that transgender people confront, focusing attention on the need for specialised care and raising awareness among the healthcare community.
According to the World Health Organisation, transgender people and other gender minorities account for 0.3%–0.5% of the global population. In India, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) identified approximately 70,000 transgender people as high-risk and vulnerable to HIV during a mapping effort carried out in 2012–2013.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India has advised building an enabling environment to promote transgender people's access to healthcare facilities, highlighting sensitivity in medical communities towards sex, gender, sexuality, and self-identity.
The proposed SGPGIMS transgender clinic is projected to improve transgender healthcare outcomes by addressing both HIV-related and non-HIV-related healthcare needs. The clinic's opening is in keeping with global initiatives to provide inclusive, evidence-based, and high-quality healthcare to transgender people.
Targeted interventions cover health services for Hijra and transgender (H/TG) populations in India. Despite progress, challenges persist, such as human rights violations, discrimination, and limited access to healthcare.
Transgender people frequently endure disproportionately high health burdens, including concerns with mental, sexual, and reproductive health. According to the UNAIDS Gap Report, there is a 19% HIV prevalence among transfeminine people worldwide, highlighting the necessity of legal gender recognition and inclusive healthcare.
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The IBBS (2014–2015) study in India cites concerns among TG people, such as HIV prevalence, limited education, sex work participation, substance misuse, and mental health issues. Quality healthcare services, mental health assistance, and rights-based programming are required to address these concerns.
Although HIV care coverage for H/TG populations has risen, obstacles such as stigma, discrimination, and poor mental health persist. Beyond HIV, there is a need for comprehensive care in mental health, psychological support, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, STIs, and non-communicable diseases.
Nutritional shortages, sexual violence, and the need for gender affirmation treatment highlight the community's needs even more. Standard criteria, such as the WPATH model, are critical for guaranteeing quality and effectiveness in gender affirmation care.