Pop star Sir Elton John has officially opened a centre to help members of the LBGTI (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community when attending hospitals.
The “We, The Brave” centre is the first one of its kind in KwaZulu-Natal and will operate from Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi, Durban.
The centre is being welcomed by the LBGTI community, who say they are usually discriminated against when they visiting health centres. They feel most health workers are not trained properly to deal with the health challenges they face.
“Since I am part of the LGBTI community, I am happy because I am free to come here and get help without being discriminated against. We thank Elton John for sponsoring this,” says Samke Shelembe.
The clinic will be staffed by specially-trained nurses and will also educate patients about sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases. It will be fully funded by the Sir Elton John Foundation.
Health officials have welcomed the move and say it will ensure that everyone gets help without being judged.
“The rest of the country is going to learn a lot of good lessons from this Gateway clinic on how to take care of key populations, because there are key populations around the world that have been neglected, says Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
There are close to five million people in the LGBTI community in the country.