New Delhi: Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital steps on a path breaking initiative by dedicating a separate Outpatient Department (OPD) only for transgender and thus achieving a rare first-of-its-kind in the country.
The OPD will be in service every Friday with a timing that suits the community. The most common issues faced by transgenders are hormonal issues, top bottom surgery and laser.
Another distinct provision attached with this initiative is a separate washroom designed solely for them.
Dr Ajay Shukla, Director of the Hospital, while speaking with the new Indian said, “I used to wonder that we see transgender people everywhere but despite health issues I have seen them in hospitals and hence the question came where do they go when they are unwell? I called a meeting and had a talk. They told me that they are afraid to come to hospital as they face difficulties in standing in the queue with the regular population and felt people mocking them.”
Dr Shukla further said, “they go to a few private hospitals but not all have the money to afford it and hence I asked them if there is a separate OPD will you come they were very happy. It feels wonderful because we are progressing in all directions especially in technology and medical sciences and it feels bad when a section of the society cannot access minimum healthcare.”
On April 15, 2014, landmark judgment in the case of NALSA vs. Union of India (2014) 5 SCC 438 recognized transgenders to be the third gender amongst other guidelines to the government.
The transgenders that The New Indian spoke with regarding the initiative mentions that before NALSA judgement and transgender bill they had to endure pain in every aspect, especially emotional but this initiative will bring a great change in the overall healthcare system that will be equitable for all including them.
Piya Kapoor, a transgender associated with Seva Bharti said, “this is the first OPD by RML in the entire country and we are elated because now we can come to consult a doctor in a govt hospital. When we used to visit the hospital there were queues for both male and female and we had no clue in which line to stand. Nalsa judgement came in 2014 and we are still struggling for the basics.”
“It’s difficult to take the first step, but once it has happened the rest of the steps will get its push. The rest of the govt hospitals in Delhi should come forward and initiate this facility for us. We used to go to private hospitals because we were not getting facilities from the government hospitals before this step by RML,” said Piya.
Sonalee Chaukekar, Program Co-ordinator at Kinner Maa Ek Samajik Sanstha said, “we are elated, this is a superb initiative and we welcome any initiative that is initiated for us. Earlier when we used to visit a doctor, we had to identify ourselves, our gender. The harassment we used to face outside, we faced the same harassment even in hospitals, but this initiative will bring the much-needed change.”
Sonalee adds, “I want this initiative to be taken by other hospitals too throughout the country.”
The transgender community also demanded proper ambulances facilities and opportunities to work as paramedical staff in OPDs in future particularly established for them.
The transgender community believes that the stigma is still very much attached today but with multiple initiatives by the govt and NGOs things are stepping towards an inclusive positivity.