Monday June 24, 2024

Healthcare rights

By Editorial Board
June 09, 2023

For medical professionals, the aim should be to treat and save the lives of the person in front of them regardless of their age, gender, race, etc – the ethos being ‘do no harm’ before they don the white coat. Unfortunately, that is not always the case when it comes to medical professionals. In the most recent example, Karachi’s state-owned Civil Hospital is accused of denying treatment to transgender HIV/AIDS patients. On Wednesday, the Sindh High Court while hearing a petition on this issue ordered the hospital to provide appropriate treatment to all patients without any discrimination. Transgender rights activists say that while medicines for HIV are available at hospitals, the problem arises when a trans person requires surgical intervention. We are in 2023, and yet our discriminations are still stuck in the 80s and 90s. Over the years, medical advancements have discovered various medicines/procedures that allow patients of this life-threatening disease to have a better quality of life. To see a state-run medical facility act this way is unfortunate and shows that all progress made in the last two decades has been undone, fuelled by hate and bigotry.

The transgender community used to remain hidden from the limelight and relied on the kindness of others to get their problems acknowledged. With time, the new generation became vocal about the plight of the community and has emerged as a strong voice for trans rights. Needless to say, that has led to a series of regressive campaigns against the transgender community by people who do not realize how their hateful comments put these people in danger, disallowing them the access to basic healthcare. Misinformation against transgender persons has resulted in deaths, gun attacks, and unfavourable verdicts, pushing the transgender community back to the vulnerable position they had only now managed to rise from. For doctors, patients bear no name, colour or gender. These incidents also call for healthcare authorities to hold people accountable for such discrimination. There should be absolutely no room for this behaviour at healthcare centres. It is already difficult to be a transgender person in this part of the world – which is rather shameful given the fact that the subcontinent used to be a safe home for most transgender persons. It is time we made collective efforts to make our society hate-free.