58 people representing LGBT organisations, health care professionals and policy makers from across Southern and East Africa (South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique) jointly planned for concrete actions to strengthen collaboration on competent, sensitized and non-discriminatory health services for LGBT people. This is one of the outcomes of a regional round table on sensitization of service providers organised by our implementing partner COC Netherlands.

Addressing challenges in sensitizing service providers

The LGBT organisations shared experiences on their current collaboration with health care providers and elaborated on the challenges they face in sensitizing service providers. The health care professional and policy makers talked about their experiences or lack of familiarity with LGBT health needs. Ideas were shared on what kind of informative and supporting material would be useful in order to facilitate the engagement of health care providers with LGBT clients.

… it was very good that I was here with….a service provider. We are establishing a link with the service providers. Next week we’ll be having training with the service providers. I learnt a lot from the other organisations and I think this will be a contributor to LGBTI organisations being successful.

(Roberto Paolo, Lambda Mozambique)

An eye-opener

Several organisations presented on their endeavours to mainstream health services for LGBTs and a short introduction to the sensitization training developed by our South African partner OUT was offered to the participants. Many health care professionals mentioned to have experienced this ‘teaser’ to the sensitization training as an eye-opener.

Following this round table, COC Netherlands will facilitate and assist the LGBT organisations to continue engaging with the health care workers and policy makers in order to work towards developing useful instruments that can be used to raise awareness of LGBT issues among health care providers.