The Centre-run Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital in Delhi inaugurated India’s first dedicated Outpatient Department (OPD) for the transgender community on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday on Sunday.
The initiative was started to alleviate the difficulties encountered by members of the transgender community in accessing healthcare services, largely due to discomfort and the fear of discrimination and social stigma.
The hospital also organised a blood donation camp to mark PM Modi’s 73rd birthday.
Dr Ajay Shukla, the hospital’s medical superintendent, inaugurated the special OPD and the blood donation camp.
He said this dedicated OPD service will be available to transgenders every Friday from 2 pm to 4 pm and there will be a separate registration counter for them.
At India’s first dedicated OPD for transgenders, they will be provided with an endocrinology facility with hormone analysis and free hormonal treatment, a psychiatry facility with clinical-psychological assessment, and plastic surgery, Dr Shukla said.
Also, dermatology, urology and paediatrics services and all related blood investigations will be made available at the OPD, he said, adding that it will have gender-neutral/transgender washroom facilities.
Asked what prompted the launch of the special OPD, Dr Shukla said, “I rarely have seen members from the transgender community in the OPD or in the hospital wards and wondered why we don’t see them seeking treatment in government facilities.”
“I spoke to some transgender groups and found that they feel stigmatised. They feel uncomfortable in availing medical care along with other people in public spaces,” he said.
The medical superintendent said that upon enquiry in various quarters, he found that people from the transgender community mostly seek treatment in private healthcare facilities.
Since many cannot afford the cost of treatment at private facilities, they are devoid of medical care altogether, he said.
“Government hospitals need to be accessible for every section of society and this is the motivation behind opening a separate OPD to provide healthcare services for the transgenders,” Dr Shukla said.
“It is indeed a matter of great joy for the entire transgender community as such a known government hospital has started a separate and special OPD, examination room and helping window for the transgender community, ” Trans rights activist and author Sanjana Simon said.
“We the transgender people always feel awkward when we see male and female lines in hospitals and public areas. Because of this gender-biased rule, the transgender community always feels frightened to go there. They are often misbehaved with and insulted by cisgender people and even staff members. The very step by RML Hospital is a historic decision which has been demanded and required since a long time,” Simon, founder and director of Love Thy Neighbour Trust, said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)