Covid makes gender affirmation operation costlier – The New Indian Express


Express news service

COIMBATORE: The Covid-19 pandemic has forced transgender people in the state to pay double the amount they previously paid to undergo gender-affirming surgeries. According to community members, a basic procedure that cost them around Rs 80,000 before the pandemic now costs Rs 1.30 to 1.50 lakh. Because of this, many trans people were unable to undergo vital surgery time, trans people told TNIE.

Ms. Taslima Nasrin, a transgender woman and founder of the Change Trust in Coimbatore said: “Previously, the only option for trans people was to go to cities like Mumbai or New Delhi for the operation. Now private hospitals run it in Chennai and Coimbatore. The cost, however, has increased dramatically since the pandemic with rising prices for medical equipment and testing. Nasrin added that the post-surgical treatment would cost an additional Rs 50,000.

In addition, the Stanley Medical College Hospital in Chennai, the only government hospital in Tamil Nadu to offer the service until the Rajaji government hospital in Madurai recently opened a clinic, stopped performing the surgeries after the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020.

‘Need for quality treatment’
Nasrin said many trans people are reluctant to undergo the procedures in public hospitals because of the “poor quality of treatment” associated with the time taken for the process. Dr Shilpa, a trans person and coordinator of Change Trust, said: “We have been recognized as ‘Thirununangai’ by the former Chief Minister Mr Karunanidhi. Considering our situation, he facilitated the surgery at the public hospital. I myself had the operation at Stanley Medical College Hospital. However, due to improper treatment, my urinary tract became blocked and I had to have another surgery at a private hospital in Chennai within four months.

In Venba (25), a trans person from Erode said she had been waiting for the operation for seven years. She added that a private hospital in Coimbatore recently asked her to pay Rs 1.30 lakh for the operation. Kanishka, another trans person, said, “No one will lend us money in an emergency. After a deep economic struggle, I had the operation two years ago after getting a loan of Rs 1 lakh. However, they deducted Rs 20,000 as interest even before giving me the amount. “

Many, like Kanishka, claimed that they were forced to pay a higher amount up to Rs 20,000 for tax for the surgery which costs Rs 1.5 lakh, as it is classified under the “cosmetic treatment” category. . They demanded that the surgery be included in the chief minister’s insurance plan.

When contacted, Mr. Ramesh, resident doctor at Stanley GH, said: “Due to the Covid-19 situation, surgery was not performed here. The decision to resume the operation would be taken shortly.
K Boopathi, professor and head of the plastic surgery department at Stanley, said, “In 2016 we did the surgery. After that, breast augmentation surgery was performed in 2020. We are ready to take the cases but we do not have any.

Responding to allegations of mistreatment at a government hospital, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said, “There is no mistreatment. If they have any problems, we are ready to rectify them. They can approach us with the problems of the treatment method. The government provided the facility to prevent the community from being victimized by unauthorized centers for surgery, he added.

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