A welcome move: Bharati Vidyapeeth hospital in Pune to start health services for LGBT community
Bharati Vidyapeeth Hospital and Research Centre has announced to start an all-inclusive medical service for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in the city which will not only have a dedicated outpatient department (OPD), but also a full-fledged super speciality providing services, including counselling, psychiatry, endocrinology, psychology and cosmetic surgery facilities. The hospital that plans to start the health centre early next year is in talks with Samapathik Trust, the city-based NGO that works towards the rights of LGBT community.
Dr Sanjay Lalwani, medical director, Bharati Vidyapeeth Hospital and Research Centre, said, “The health services for LGBT community in our hospital will include OPD, a ward, a team of doctors and super speciality services. We will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Samapathik Trust.”
Talking about increasing medical cases from the segment coming out in the open, Dr Jyoti Shetty, head of the hospital’s psychiatry department, said, “Many members of LGBT community are seeking medical help. Counselling and guidance are needed when it comes to this community where gender dysphoria cases are commonly seen. We are taking efforts to break the stereotype and making all the required medical facilities available for the community. We are also looking at generating public awareness about LGBT community and eradicating stigma.”
Bindumadhav Khire, a gay rights activist and founder of Samapathik Trust, said, “Looking at the issues that the LGBT community is facing and given the rise in people seeking gender reassignment surgeries or treatment in India, this kind of facility is the need of the hour. Many need counselling after they come out as they deal with depression, many need assessment of gender and later need therapy related to sex reassignment surgery and hormonal treatment. We have seen such people running from pillar to post and seeking treatment from different hospitals and most of the times lose their follow-ups. This facility will be a boon to address such cases.”
Khire said that more city hospitals should join this ‘positive’ change and he is in talks with other health centres.
Dr Mohan Thomas, a cosmetic surgeon who sees cases of male to female and female to male reassignment and is also a patient rights advocate, said, “A patient should be treated as a patient and not be singled out from any community. The percentage of people belonging to this segment is very low and hence revenue generation from this kind of facility may not be as expected.”
Meanwhile, Bomi Bhote, Association of Hospitals of Pune’s president, claimed of never coming across of any such initiative in Pune by any hospital for LGBT community.
Medical facility on the cards at KEM
King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital too plans to start medical services for the LBGT community. Taysir Moonim, psychologist, mental health and psychosocial services department, KEM said, “Provision of inclusive medical services at a hospital will only lead to eradication of the stigma attached to this community. Many a times, it becomes necessary to have the patient’s clinical and medical history and hence the orientation is needed. We are planning to start medical services for LGBT community soon.”