Pakistan: a long road ahead

Islamabad

Faisal Masjid Islamabad (Syed Bilal Javaid, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Yameena Nadeem, a medical student at Allam Iqbal Medical College, Pakistan. 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.


In Pakistan -A country marred with political instability, financial upheaval, precarious security situations, does the government ever focus their energies on planning to improve healthcare especially for the marginalized communities.

Though in accordance with the law and culture homosexuality is illegal in Pakistan, The Transgenders Persons act passed in March 2018, provide the citizens the right to self- identify as male, female, neither or a blend of both as well as protect their rights. So has this ensured safe access to healthcare for the third gender?

I cannot say this with utmost certainty but as far as I have realized unfortunately no.

Being a third-year medical student in a 5-year MBBs program at a reputable institution I should surely have an idea on how to best provide for these patients. But never once have I specifically been told how to deal with such patients.

Our curriculum remains silent on the subject. It fails to sensitize these future medical doctors to the growing demands of the society. We do not even have the slightest idea as to how to even address them without offending them or sounding derogatory. However, a bright spot in all of this is that we are willing to learn, willing to bring up such conversations, willing to play our part.

we have a long road ahead of us. we need to try and identify the hurdles blocking us. One of the major issues we face is the lack of sensitization in the medical community as well as the general public. In order to overcome this, we need to train our students to remain unprejudiced. Help them realize transgenders are as human as anyone else and deserve our attention care and kindness.

, teaching them skills to help make such patients comfortable will ensure that in the long run the transgender community will not only not be refused treatment anymore just because of their gender but also feel safe in accessing medical services in any part of the country.

Years of stigma prevalent in the society has cost us many innocent lives. However, we are ready to fight this demon. we want to deliver dignified and non-discriminatory healthcare and we have taken the first right step but we have an extensive journey ahead of us. Hope we succeed in reaching our goal.

About the author

Yameena Nadeem is a medical student at Allam Iqbal Medical College, Pakistan. She is an avid reader with a love for travelling. She has previously been an active member of the literary society as well as worked for the magazine at her school. She has always loved writing. And with opportunities like these, writing about issues facing healthcare ,would help further the discussion and continue trying to play her part.

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