Human rights are universal and ought to be respected no matter the age, gender or state of mind. This cumulatively includes Health rights and freedom of choice and expression, therefore access to health services should be open and accessible to every person.
In this write up I would like to relate to the health challenges and difficulties special interest groups go through every day while other have the same at their convenience. For example, how would we achieve the HIV eradication objective when we choose selectively who and what to involve the different interventions whilst every category and class of people are affected by this scourge.
Would it not be hypocrisy to fight new infections while overlooking the most at risk groups of the populace? If we are all equal before God, who are we to judge who can access medication and who cannot!
The LGBTIQ is a population that is very much existent within, they are our brothers, sisters, parents or even people we hold in highest esteem in the society and we cannot just wash away the fact of their existence and need for proper healthcare access. Due to their sexual identity, their sexual practices may not be conforming to the status quo and this increases the need for specialized healthcare to this group. Why then would the society find it hard to allow access to healthcare if we are for the real fight?
As we delve into some of the challenges facing this group of hardworking community, we must be aware that most of this challenges are caused by the societies unwillingness to accept and embrace diversity in our very diverse society. All these can be solved and changed when we focus on the societal wellbeing other than individual characters.
The challenges may include:
Some healthcare providers do not know their patients’ sexual orientation therefore treat them as heterosexuals
Fear of stigmatization prevents people from identifying as LGBTIQ, this hinders proper health care
Some providers do not have proper information on the community
Some health experts assume that lesbians are not at risk of cervical cancer
Prior negative experience prevents them from seeking health services
The above challenges are lifestyle challenges that are deeply embedded in our society, they can be changed if we embrace human rights as universal and respect them as a whole. This increases productivity in every individual, bolstering the fight against HIV and other STDs, eventually this increases the national GDP, as the former president Mwai Kibaki would put it “A healthy nation is a wealthy nation”.
FACT: What a person does in their bedroom and how they identify themselves has nothing to do with access to proper healthcare.
by Davis Owillah