Kerala to develop guidelines for treatment of transgender-specific health issues

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala is preparing a protocol for the treatment of transgender people. The move to common guidelines to address health issues affecting these people follows several cases of people unsuitable for gender reassignment surgery undergoing the procedure and many of them facing an acute shortage of post-surgical treatment.

According to the proposed guidelines, sex reassignment surgery can only be performed with the permission of two mental health experts.

The new protocol will be based on guidelines issued by the World Association of Physicians for Transgender Health. A group of experts was formed by the state government to prepare the protocol. The committee is led by the director of social justice and has among its members experts from the health, legal and social sectors and representatives of transgender people. Recently, the panel held its first meeting.

Currently, gender transformation surgeries, which cost around Rs 5 lakh, are only performed in private hospitals in Kerala. Under the proposed protocol, doctors from government medical schools will receive special training in the procedure. The Government Medical College in Kottayam, which runs a clinic for transgender people, has already submitted a detailed proposal to the government to this effect.

Meanwhile, the National Health Mission (NHM) has suggested establishing transgender friendly hospitals in Kerala. According to NHM recommendation to the state government, general hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad could be transgender friendly in the first phase.

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