AIIMS Delhi is collaborating with the Health Ministry’s division to establish a pioneering centre dedicated to the comprehensive and holistic care of transgender individuals. According to Maneesh Singhal, the head of the Department of Burns and Plastic Surgery, this centre is expected to be operational within the next four to five months, located in the burns and plastic surgery block of AIIMS.
This initiative, in consultation with the National Aids Control Organization (NACO) and the Ministry of Health, aims to create a ‘Centre of Excellence for Transgender Healthcare’. The motivation behind this dedicated centre stems from recognising the unique challenges faced by the transgender community in accessing mainstream healthcare services, often hindered by societal stigma and biases.
The centre’s design includes facilities for specialised surgeries tailored to the needs of transgender patients, as well as comprehensive endocrinology and psychiatry services, all under one roof. These revelations were made by Singhal during a three-day workshop titled the Advanced Gender Affirmative Care Workshop. This event, conducted in partnership with the Association for Transgender Health in India (ATHI) and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), focuses on training healthcare professionals in advanced skills tailored to the needs of transgender and gender-diverse individuals.
In his statement, Singhal emphasised the collaboration with various national bodies, including the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, to establish this Centre of Excellence. However, he also highlighted the current challenges in India, such as the lack of trained healthcare providers and dedicated training centres, which hinder the provision of standardised and accessible healthcare to transgender and gender-diverse people.
This workshop, featuring certified international trainers and professionals in transgender health from WPATH’s Global Education Institute and the University of Colorado, USA, marks a significant step in addressing these challenges. It also underscores the importance of mental health in transgender care, with a specific focus on advanced mental health strategies and practices to support the well-being of the transgender community.