The health work­ers in the coun­try lack skill to pro­vide health care ser­vices to the LGBT

Bhutan Times - - Home - Bhuma Ghal­ley

The health work­ers in the coun­try lack skills to pro­vide health care ser­vices to the les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, and trans­gen­der (LGBT) mem­ber. The health care providers sup­port that men sex with men (MSM) and trans­gen­der should get equal care and mis­con­cep­tions and value driven stigma should not im­pact the ser­vices pro­vided to the LGBT mem­bers.

As one of the chal­lenges of LGBT mem­ber is in­abil­ity to be opened about their gen­der with the health worker as they don’t feel com­fort­able to them and also the health worker are not aware of deal­ing with the trans­gen­der and MSM peo­ple.

In 2017 there were 97 mem­bers and now they have 118 reg­is­tered LGBT mem­bers. The Min­istry of Health is urg­ing LGBT mem­ber to ex­press their needs and seek help to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion.

Dur­ing the talk to sen­si­tize me­dia stake­holder on the sex­ual ed­u­ca­tion and sex­ual health aware­ness and to develop strate­gies to dis­sem­i­nate sen­si­tive me­dia pro­gram, Dechen Wangmo pub­lic health con­sul­tant, said that the sub­stan­tial mem­ber of health­care provider haven’t got any train­ing or ori­en­ta­tion on HIV and male sex­ual health.

“The as­sess­ment found out that many of health providers re­ported a poor un­der­stand­ing of trans­gen­der and MSM is­sues and they are not com­fort­able to talk with their pa­tient about the sex­ual is­sue.”

She also said that it de­pends on the indi- vid­ual health provider to deal with the MSM and trans­gen­der peo­ple. The eval­u­a­tion on stigma and dis­crim­i­na­tion im­pact­ing uni­ver­sal ac­cess for th­ese peo­ple in our coun­try. From six Dzongkhag Thim­phu, Chukha, Bumthang, Sarpang, Wang­due and Sam­drupjongkhar there are 887 health care providers out of that only 317 were re­sponded to the ques­tion­naire. Study based on the pop­u­la­tion size from six Dzongkhag, Bumthang has the high­est with 83 per­cent re­spon­dent, while Thim­phu with the low­est with 25 per­cent and over­all was 26 per­cent.

She said that as a health care provider they want the MSM is­sues to un­der­stand well. The ma­jor­ity of health work­ers would have pos­i­tive at­ti­tude to­wards HIV re­lated cases. And due to the lack of un­der­stand­ing be­tween LGBT mem­ber and health work­ers they land up not en­thuse health ser­vices.

Mean­while, the health worker started sen­si­ti­za­tion pro­gram­mers on LGBT com­mu­nity for the health work­ers and rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers.

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