India’s first transgender Outpatient Department (OPD) was inaugurated at Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday. The Director and Medical Superintendent of the hospital Dr Ajay Shukla inaugurated the special OPD and a blood donation camp which was also organized for the day.
— ANI (@ANI) September 17, 2023
Dr Shukla said that the specialty 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. He said, if they see an increase in the number of people visiting the hospital, they will add more days. He stated that members of the transgender community avoid coming to the hospital, and because of this a decision was taken to start a separate OPD service for them.
"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." was quoted by PTI.
"I spoke to some transgender groups and found that they feel stigmatized. They feel uncomfortable in availing medical care along with other people in public spaces," he added.
He said that he often noticed that people from the transgender community often seek medical treatment from private facilities. But those who cannot bear the cost of private hospitals are often left deprived of medical care altogether.
"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.
The hospital will offer a range of services, such as endocrinology with hormone analysis and free hormonal treatment, psychiatry and clinical-psychological assessment, and plastic surgery will also be available at the OPD. Dermatology, urology and pediatrics services and all related blood investigations will be made available at the OPD, he said the hospital will have gender-neutral/transgender washroom facilities.
Transgender Healthcare In India
This step comes as positive news, as there are only a handful of hospitals that have trained healthcare practitioners who can perform gender reaffirmation surgeries, these are often costly as well. Also, the transgender community has often been neglected by the healthcare system except focusing on HIV and STDs this leaves many diseases and mental health concerns undiagnosed, according to a study by the National Human Rights Commission.