LGBTQIA+ Healthcare: New Training, GapsBy Rodrigo Brugada | Thu, 07/01/2021 - 10:17
In the wake of the International LGBTQIA+ Pride Day, the Ministry of Health launched a course to continue training health professionals caring for this community. Still, there are many more issues to tackle in order to bring them equitable care.
The training course is named "Access without Discrimination for the Provision of Health Care Services for LGBTQIA+ People," and aims to promote the training and sensibilization of health professionals on the primary needs of these populations to ensure their right to discrimination-free health care services. This course is the result of a joint effort between government institutions, academics and community leaders. The course aims to create interventions that remove barriers in the provision of health services faced by people from the LGBTQIA+ community.
The virtual course focuses on topics such as gender perspective and vulnerability in health, discrimination and violence, and normative principles of human rights. The contents are based on the Protocol for non-discriminatory access to health care services for LGBTTTI people published by the Coordinating Commission of National Health Institutes and High Specialty Hospitals (CCINSHAE) and specific care guidelines designed by CENSIDA.
CENSIDA coordinated the development of this project and included the participation of multiple bodies of the Ministry of Health, including CCINSHAE, the National Bioethics Commission (ConBioetica), the General Directorate of Quality and Health Education (DGCES) and the General Directorate of Health Promotion (DGPS). Also participating were IMSS, ISSSTE and educational and consulting institutions such as UNAM, CNDH, Conapred and the Clínica Especializada Condesa.
According to the Survey on Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (ENDOSIG) 2018 released by Conapred, 24 percent of LGBTQIA+ people experienced discrimination during medical care due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. As a result, people who are part of this segment of the population may stay away from health services. Thus, this already vulnerable segment of the population may encounter poorer health outcomes.
There is an enormous need for health professionals capable of addressing the needs of these populations while also taking a gender and human rights perspective. It is essential to integrate social justice approaches that provide all people with equal opportunities to enjoy the services provided by the public healthcare sector.
Still, Mexico lags behind on healthcare for this segment of the population, particularly regarding trans individuals’ rights, as reported by El Sol De Mexico. While the guidelines mentioned before exist to provide a framework for healthcare services, it is not mandatory to follow them. Although a training course can be helpful, this community has many other needs. There is still significant stigma that fosters violence or prevents access to work for people from this community. While this is a problem in itself, it becomes twofold when living in a country where the right to health is linked to employment status. And even with health coverage, when it comes to specific treatments for transgender people, such as hormone replacement therapy or surgical interventions, there is no coverage by the public health system. For example, hormone replacement therapy only exists in a couple of entities in this country, including Mexico City, and they are quite limited services. As for surgeries, they are not covered almost anywhere.