The Gender and Sexual Minority (GSM) community members often faces discrimination and stigma when seeking medical health care services in both private and public hospitals. Most health care providers in public hospitals are known for breaching their privacy and confidentiality by exposing the sexual orientation of their patients to other colleagues at the facilities. Most of the health care providers are usually not friendly and hardly understand GSM’s sexual and reproductive health needs.
As a matter of facts, this has reduced the access to specific medical care by the LGBTIQ+ people because majority of them have had experience of homo, bi- or tans-phobic health professionals. This may make them less inclined to seek medical help, or they may wait longer before they seek help. Many health workers in public health facilities claim that they treat everyone the same but this usually means that they treat everyone as heterosexual.
The monthly medical camp therefore gives an opportunity to the LGBTIQ+ members to access medical services at their safe space without discrimination. These services included: STI Screening, HTS, Treatment of minor illness, Health and wellness checkup, Mental health support and health education.
Pema Kenya in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières on Friday, the 30th September 2022 held the monthly medical camp at its offices – 1st Avenue Nyali. The Medical Camp started at 8.30am and ended at 1pm.
The main goal of the Camp was to help make it easy to access medical services by the LGBTIQ+ community members. This was achieved by providing free and high-quality medical services for the LGBTIQ+ individual. We also continued to raise awareness among the community member on mental health and referral linkages to professional counselors. We were also able to create health care environment that provide medical treatment, counseling and referral services that support LGBTIQ+ people in adopting healthy lifestyles.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MEDICAL CAMP
The monthly medical camp creates an affirming and inclusive environment in which LGBTIQ+ people can find trust and open communication with their care providers and to not only improving care, and ultimately the health but also their psychosocial wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ people. The medical camp was conducted through a one on one consultation with medical practitioners in a private quiet place.
Nekesa WANDERA, Health promotion officer.