‘BCC clinics do not discriminate patients’

Personnel at Bulawayo City Council (BCC) clinics attend sensitisation workshops to equip them with skills to treat all patients, including people with different sexual orientation and key populations, such as commercial sex workers, a health official has said.

This was revealed at the Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) meeting after the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community claimed that their sexual reproduction health rights were being infringed upon.

Council health director Edwin Sibanda told Southern Eye that BCC clinic services were available to every person who sought them.

“We don’t really classify people using anything, be they disabled, of a different sexual orientation or religion, height or weight, we accept everybody. That is our view, and we have had our nurses undergo various trainings to enable them receive and accept anybody, including the deaf.

“Some nurses have got some basic sign language to allow them to interact with the deaf. We have had some sensitisation sessions for people with different sexual orientation — the LGBTI community — or key populations, including commercial sex workers,” he said.

Sibanda said their policy prioritised non-discrimination of patients.

A member from the LGBTI community, who preferred anonymity, said their sexual reproductive rights were being violated.

“The expression of your sexual identity is infringed on, therefore, you have to navigate your way around society, faking, living or pretending to be something that you are not. So, to some level, it means the sexual reproductive health right or even identity itself of a gay person or transgender lesbian is already infringed upon,” the member said.

The member said they faced difficulties accessing services at hospitals and clinics which are not gender friendly. The LGBTI said most members could not identify themselves as gay for fear of being both criminalised and victimised.

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