LESBIAN, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) people still face the challenge of an inequitable access and vaccine hesitancy surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Feb. 23, 2022
2 min read
Gay community stands against COVID-19
Project Coordinator of the People’s Matrix Association, Giselle Ratalane
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According to the Project Coordinator of the People’s Matrix Association, Giselle Ratalane this is largely due to stigma, discrimination, violence, family rejection and the closure of social support services and delay of gender affirmation medical care, according to.
The People’s Matrix Association is a local body that safeguards the interests of the LGBTI community in Lesotho.
However, Ms Ratalane said the association was having a vaccine training programme to help the LGBTI communities to go to villages and neighbourhoods where they lived to encourage those who were also disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 to vaccinate.
She said working together with the District Health Management Team (DHMT) and district hospitals, the programme would help to form a partnership with healthcare providers.
“They want to encourage the LGBTI community to get vaccinated, and to map out the population of the LGBTI, and also to equip those who might not have any work or job with training experience, and show them the possibilities of working with these departments in the districts,” she said.
“The program also helps to collect data of the LGBTI community in each district - data which is going to help demographically for COVID-19 – and show how it affected the LGBTI community.”
All along, she said the LGBTI community had had a horrible experience while trying to access health services.
“This is why we have decided to encourage them to vaccinate,” Ms Ratalane added.
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Although vaccines have become a vital mechanism to curb the spread of COVID-19, some groups are less likely than others to receive immunisation including the youth and homeless people.
It adds to vaccine hesitancy, which is a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccination services.
The People’s Matrix Association team that is supporting the facilitation of the COVID-19 vaccine uptake mobilisation training is offered by Paray Hospital and DHMT in Thaba-tseka.
The trainees will help disseminate vaccine safety information and increase the uptake of the vaccine among Thaba-Tseka LGBTI community.
The next trainings will be held in Berea, Maseru, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek and Butha-Buthe.