SHC seeks Sindh govt’s policy on medical treatment of transgender persons

Jamal Khurshid
Thursday, Jun 08, 2023

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday directed the Sindh government to submit a policy devised by the government for dealing with medical needs and treatment of transgender persons in the province. The direction came on a petition of transgender persons, some of whom are said to be HIV positive, with it being alleged that they were being denied treatment for their various ailments at the Civil Hospital.

The petitioners submitted that there were numerous HIV-positive transgender persons along with the petitioners who were repeatedly being denied medical treatment by health facilities across Sindh. Their counsel Sara Malkani submitted that the denial of treatment to HIV persons at public hospitals in Sindh severely undermined their access to health care. She submitted that the Civil Hospital was a tertiary public hospital under the control of the Sindh government and it was obligated to provide free treatment and quality health care to all persons without discrimination.

She submitted that the refusal of the Civil Hospital administration to provide treatment to HIV positive patients was violation of its constitutional obligation as well as Sindh HIV and AIDS Control, Treatment and Protection Act 2013. The high court was requested to provide immediate necessary medical treatment on a non-discriminatory basis to all the HIV-positive persons. The medical superintendent (MS) of the Civil Hospital, Dr Greue Kumar, denied the assertion that medical treatment has been willfully denied. He said that if due to any misunderstanding, the petitioners or any one of them had been turned away, such oversight would be rectified without any further delay.He submitted that a focal person had been appointed at the hospital and if the petitioners approached him even today, they would be properly attended to and provided full medical attention in accordance with their need without any delay. He said the hospital had also devised a protocol for dealing with such cases and the petitioners would be taken care of accordingly.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed directed the Civil Hospital MS to ensure the needful to be done. The bench observed that the petitioners may approach the focal person for advancing their cause.

The high court also directed a provincial law officer to file comments on the matter and assist the court as to the overall policy devised by the government of Sindh for dealing with the medical needs and treatment of transgender person on the next hearing.