South Africa Makes History with its First Ever Healthcare Facility for Transgender People
The University of the Witwatersrand's Reproductive Health Institute is creating a safe space for transgender people seeking healthcare.
South Africa has made history after it opened the doors to its first dedicated healthcare facility for transgender people. According to eNCA, the Reproductive Health Institute, which has been set up by the prestigious University of the Witwatersrand, wants to create a safe space for transgender South Africans by removing the stigma and prejudice they often face while trying to access healthcare in the country. It is a major stride against the backdrop of a continent that generally still treats members of the LGBT community as second-class citizens.
Speaking about the Reproductive Health Institute based in Johannesburg, a South African transgender woman named Tiny Williams tells eNCA that, "Within five minutes I am done with everything and there is no criticism about the way I am." In contrast, Williams describes her previous experiences at public hospitals saying, "When I go there asking for treatment, some they start gossiping about to, laughing at you and the way you are that this person is gay."
The Johannesburg facility, and the three others which are located in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces, are a result of a 5-year USAID Award which aims to increase access to healthcare to marginalized groups including the LGBT community and sex workers in South Africa.