Barriers to healthcare: are they real?

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(Unsplash, 2019)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Ana Laura Dutra Queruz, a 18 years old and a second year medical student from Brazil . She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Historically, there was always a lack of equality when we discuss diverse communities rights. LGBT+ community has been fighting against discrimination in work, school, and even at home.

Thousands of homosexuals and transsexuals die every day victims of homophobia, die all around the world, exposed to the cruelty of prejudice. Homosexual sexual orientation has been treated for decades as a mental illness, a fact that promotes prejudice and, often, restriction of care to these people, in addition to the exposure to life risks.

Recognizing the negative impact of discrimination in any sphere of our society, we should aim to end it and to provide a comprehensive health care to this diverse group.

Individual, cultural, religious or even personal beliefs affect patient’s when it’s time to talk about themselves. For many times being discriminated and for others making LGBT+ people feel ashamed for who they are, they end up feeling uncomfortable and fearing stigmatic treatment. Hiding information from the physician for feeling negatively judged collaborates with the building of a barrier to access appropriate healthcare.

The walls built from prejudice and judgment are consequences of the absence of insertion of the theme in preventive campaigns that target this population, added to the lack of permanent and continuous education of health professionals.This walls made from the patients feelings and the prejudice from many professionals directly affect diagnosis and prognosis of infirmities.

Constituting any vulnerable community, such as the LGBTQI, configurates a social determinant of health, as the universalization of access to health care confronts lgbtphobia all around the world. The existence of specific health issues and vulnerabilities, including mental health affections such as chronic stress caused by social exclusion feelings, express the need of medical professionals that are able to incorporate inclusive and sensitive language.

Aiming to provide safe environments to diverse communities, it is a must to disseminate knowledge of principles and normalizing manners to respect individuality in medical care. Educational programs should have the goal to optimize quality and effectiveness of LGBT health care, even promoting focused health centers and professionals.

Many countries promote public healthcare directed to vulnerable populations, such as Brazil has established an ordinance of National Policy of Integral Health for LGBT people in 2011¹. Although there are policies addressed to eliminate inequities and inequalities for them, there is still a long pathway to pass through to end the prejudice.

The comprehension about sexuality and that this communities health demands specific and humanized attention, allows the understanding of the reality in which these subjects are inserted, and that prejudice affects and promote illness for the ones that feel excluded. Finally, it is important to emphasize that during medical formation, students should look forward to end stigmatic treatment in subjects such as sexuality, being prepared to encourage and facilitate patients opening.

References

1 – BRAZIL. MINISTRY OF HUMAN RIGHTS. . Guidance on diversity. 2018. Available at: <https://www.mdh.gov.br/todas-as-noticias/2018/de Dezembro/ministerio-lanca-manual-orientador-de-diversidade/copy_of_ManualLGBTDIGITAL.pdf>. Accessed on: 24 Jun. 2019.

About the author

Ana Laura Dutra Queruz is 18 years old and a second year medical student. Currently, she is a member and analyst of Scientific Research by IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar and a member of the Academic League of Oncology and Hematology (LAMAOH). Interested in health and how it is affected, she really likes politics, social actions and aims scientific development . She has been improving her learning and skills to disseminate her knowledgement and possibly helping community.

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