First-ever Jamaica transgender strategy looks beyond health

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1/8/2021

Imagine using a health-care system that has no concept of you as a person, or of your unique needs. Nurses might not ask important questions. Doctors might overlook the solutions you really require. You might feel unwelcome. That has always been the reality for transgender people in Jamaica. A new strategy seeks to change this. With support from UNAIDS and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), TransWave Jamaica has launched the Trans and Gender Non-Conforming National Health Strategy, the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean. The five-year plan is a rights-based road map for how the health and well-being of transgender people can be advanced. It moves beyond recommendations for the health-care system to the structural and societal changes necessary to achieve equitable access to services and opportunities for the transgender community. “Too many transgender people stay home and suffer or change who they are to access public health-care spaces,” explained TransWave Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy, Renae Green. “We need improvement to basic services, including psychosocial support. And we need transgender people to be able to access public health services as their authentic selves.” Through the Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework Country Envelope for Jamaica, UNAIDS collaborated with UNFPA to support a robust year-long process of research, community engagement and strategy development, including a monitoring and evaluation framework. The strategy development process was informed by a multisectorial steering committee composed of civil society organizations, international cooperation partners and government authorities.

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