The Health Policy Project has ended, but work continues under a new USAID five-year project, Health Policy Plus (HP+).
NEWS & VIEWS
KINGSTON, Jamaica—In the Caribbean, transgender persons are disproportionately affected by HIV and vulnerable to a range of sexually transmitted infections. Moreover high levels of stigma and discrimination create significant barriers and make it difficult for them to access the health care services they need. Most clinicians in this region also do not receive any training on transgender health or broader issues of sexuality and diversity, further limiting transgender-friendly services.
In response, the USAID-funded Health Policy Project (HPP) developed and is piloting a training manual for healthcare workers in Jamaica, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic to strengthen their capacity to provide high-quality, stigma-free health services for transgendered persons. The manual contains elements of the HPP, Understanding and Challenging HIV and Key Population Stigma and Discrimination: Caribbean Facilitator's Guide, and will be available online in English and Spanish in early 2015.
As part of their effort HPP held a training to pilot the manual in Jamaica on September 24-26, 2014. The training—attended by around 20 physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, transgender individuals, and members of Jamaica’s National Family Planning Board—was well-received. Dr. Saphire Longmore, who attended the training, commented, “The initiative by HPP to engage healthcare providers of the transgender community with…the issues affecting this population is one to be commended and replicated. In an environment such as ours, in Jamaica as it is elsewhere, the transgender group is highly stigmatised and marginalised and as such [the] basic human right to accessing healthcare is compromised. It is crucial that health care services are accessible for this group for their own wellbeing and that of the population in general”.
The training was co-facilitated by Dr. Esther Corona and Dr. Anita Radix. Dr. Corona is a clinical psychologist and president of the Education and International Relation Committees of the World Association for Sexual Health. Dr. Radix is a Caribbean-born physician who treats transgender patients at the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York. Of the training, Dr. Radix observed, “One of the issues that we need to address is that of invisibility of transgender persons in the Caribbean. For example, HIV-positive transgender women are often counted as men who have sex with men in surveillance data, which results in little recognition among healthcare workers of the specific health concerns of transgender people. Through this training health workers learned how to deliver culturally competent, high-quality healthcare and to target health promotion to transgender clients. Hopefully this will help to reduce the healthcare disparities faced by these communities.”
Learn more about HPP's work in transgender health here: http://www.healthpolicyproject.com/index.cfm?id=Topics-transgenderhealth.
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