Rights of LGBTQI People Centre Stage at UKZN Workshop

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) persons face a variety of obstacles in accessing many of their rights, including the right to basic healthcare, says the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UKZN’s College of Health Sciences, Professor Busi Ncama.

‘Many LGBTQI people struggle to find healthcare providers who are knowledgeable about their needs and encounter discrimination from insurers or providers which delays or nullifies care because of concerns about how they (LGBTQI people) will be treated,’ said Ncama.

Ncama was speaking at a two-day Clinical Care Management for Sexual and Gender Diverse Communities workshop attended by a variety of health professionals.

‘It is essential for us as health professionals to ensure we provide competent care for all our patients,’ she said.

The seminar was part of the LGBTQI work package in the Strengthening the Workforce to Improve Treatment and Care of HIV (SWITCH) project, a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-funded pilot initiative awarded to UKZN in 2019.

Lead facilitator of the workshop Dr ZamaSomi Luvuno said the aim of the event was to strengthen LGBTQI content in the College using the quality improvement process to assist students develop an understanding of related health issues and skills in the care of LGBTQI patients.

There were discussions on a variety of issues including the impact of cultural and religious beliefs and sexuality in South Africa, the depth of understanding of basic terminology used in LGBTIQA+ communities, and the appropriate use of terminology in the context of healthcare delivery.

A goal was to heighten awareness about the health needs of transgender women, and bisexual and homosexual men, with a specific focus on sexual health while there was also a focus on the recognition of the underlying prejudice toward sexual and gender minorities, including provider bias.

There were also discussions on sexual practices and safer sexual practices.

Professor Harris of the University of California in the United States demonstrated how to obtain a comprehensive sexual history using the 5 Ps framework, STI diagnosis and the management of anal dysplasia.

Other participants included, Mrs Gugu Shabangu of the Office of the KwaZulu-Natal Premier; Ms Qhawe Thenjwa of Beyond Zero; Dr Sindizama Mthembu of the KZN Nursing College; Ms Lungile Zakwe of Public Services International; programme managers from the Department of Health; University of Cape Town and Durban University of Technology representatives; UKZN’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Professor Mosa Moshabela; UKZN management representatives and members of the SWITCH team.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied

Original Article Published in UKZN NdabaOnline