Indian medical education has gender gap; it needs to be addressed for a better and healthier future, say women changemakers

Kamlesh Jhaa

 Doctors are more prescriptive than humanistic

Health facilities should be equally advanced for transgender community

Sexual health problems are still a taboo in our society

New Delhi, December 20, 2019: While medical industry India is touching new heights in India with each passing day, there are many areas which need to be highlighted and concrete steps should be taken by the authorities to bridge those gaps so that everybody has the equal access to the healthcare facilities.  In a panel discussion on ‘Gender and Health’, held as part of of Youth Ki Awaaz Summit, women health advocates and activists have opined that the disparity in healthcare facilities on the basis of sex can be addressed by imparting such medical education that treats each patient equally irrespective of the caste and gender.

Dr Zoya Rizvi (Deputy Commissioner, Adolescent Health Division, MOHFW), M Suman (Trans rights activist), Nidhi Goyal (Founder – Rising Flames, stand-up comedian) , Jasmin George (Founder – Hidden Pockets) have come together under one roof and addressed intersections of health with gender in India and how it affects various communities and how these issues can be addressed.

“Medical industry has to come a long way when it comes to treating a transgender patient. When we go to a clinic or a hospital, we have been judged for our sexuality. We have been asked all sorts of weird questions including our private parts. And, shockingly such questions come from healthcare professionals, who need to be empathetic and respectful towards their patient. But, we have been discriminated at our every step. Medical education in India has a gender gap and it needs to be addressed,” said M Suman, Trans rights activist.

Nidhi Goyal has described how consent before some medical examination becomes not important when somebody is physically disabled.

“If a patient is disabled, people feel that they don’t have any consent or wish. Besides that, they are asexual. They can’t have any gynaecology issue and if they have any, doctors are the first one to judge them. If they have to undergo any medical examination, nobody takes their consent when they to lift them up on the medical bed. Nobody gives importance to consent. Doctors are just prescriptive,” Goyal added.

Besides transgender and physically disabled issues, contraceptive method is also poor in our country. Abortion and sexual health issues are still a taboo.

“It has been seen that people, especially men, feel hesitant when it comes to getting a treatment for sexual issues. They know that their problem won’t be a private issue and rather they would be judged. Judgemental attitude of government doctors should be changed. Health planning is important to address many serious issues in the country,” she added.

Dr Zoya Rizvi feels all these issues can be eradicated when we have more trained doctors and professionals in the field.  There should be many school health programs, where we hope to train teachers who will work for their good health and wellness.

“India has only handful of trained counsellors. The counsellors, which we have, are mostly post graduate in psychology. But that is not enough,” she said.