Sunday, March 26

NGO, pvt hosp to set up first free clinic for transgender community

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The city is all set to get a dedicated clinic catering to the transgender community. In addition to providing them with easy access to healthcare, the clinic is also expected to sensitize and educate the medical community on the healthcare needs of transgenders. Logistics are being worked out for the clinic which is slated to open after Durga Puja.

An initiative by Association of Transgenders and Hijras in Bengal (ATHB) and Prantakatha – Promoting Active Citizenship, the free clinic will be started by Peerless Hospital.

“Just about 3% of people belonging to the transgender community have access to proper healthcare. This transgender-sensitized clinic will come a long way in addressing the healthcare needs of the community,” said Bappaditya Mukherjee of Prantakatha.

People in the community admitted to the phobia of approaching doctors due to bitter experiences. Most are forced to see quacks as they feel more comfortable seeking medical attention from these unqualified medical practitioners. “They are mocked at, denied treatment, made fun of on OT tables. All these factors make them extremely uncomfortable to approach mainstream doctors,” said Debgopal Mandal, who has made a documentary on the healthcare challenges faced by the community.

In fact, the idea of the clinic started during the screening of this film at the American Centre recently where some doctors were invited. Peerless Hospital is the first healthcare unit that agreed to set up the facility. More hospitals could follow.

“The rights and healthcare issues of the transgender community is being discussed worldwide. We decided to support their cause. We are working out the logistics and setting up the unit,” said Sujit Kar Purkayastha, MD Peerless Hospital.

Doctors, nurses, para medics and even the security persons manning the clinic will be trained on being transgender friendly to make the community members feel comfortable when they walk in with their problems. Volunteers of the two NGOs will conduct the sensitization programmes.

“Most people in the medical sector are not sensitized about the transgender community. We cannot blame them. Our medical education teaches us about only two genders. This clinic is going to be a great learning process and I am happy to be part of this project,” said Dr Subhrojyoti Bhowmick, clinical director at Peerless Hospital.

“The kind of harassment we face in getting medical care is tremendous. This clinic should go a long way in overcoming this problem. The state transgender board should also come up with this kind of clinic in government hospitals,” said Ranjita Sinha of ATHB.

Source: Times of India

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