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LGBTQ+ people experience health disparities

A nurse at Kadoma General Hospital said many homosexual people came to the hospital to be treated of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, but some nurses discriminate them.

Homosexuality is largely rejected by Zimbabwean society and it is considered to be a taboo.

The late former President Robert Mugabe in 2013 described homosexuals as worse than pigs and dogs.

Zimbabwean culture and religion view homosexuality as something which is foreign and a dark age of satanic activities. Tradition views homosexuality as a western culture, which is trying to dilute the African culture

Zimbabwe has one of the worst LGBTQ+ rights records on the African continent.

Ten percent of Zimbabwe’s population is estimated to be gays and lesbians.

Leroy Ncube (not real name) of Rimuka in Kadoma has anal warts and was turned away at hospital when he wanted to access medical assistance at Kadoma General Hospital.

“Nurse at the hospital started calling each other laughing when l told them that l had anal warts. They started asking how a man gets anal warts,” said Ncube.

Anal warts also known as condyloma are warts that grow in or around anus and they are a form of genital warts caused by human papillomavirus.

After Ncube realised he had developed anal warts and tried to use traditional herbs which of late did not cure the warts, he opened up to his sister, who advised him to go and get medical assistance at the hospital.

“I was really embarrassed and ashamed of myself when nurses at the hospital started asking how l got anal warts. I could not tell them I am gay fearing that homosexuality is not allowed in our country and l was afraid of being victimised, but already they had done so.

“After not receiving any treatment I decided to visit the New Start Center and I received treatment, but unfortunately there was no change and they referred me to Harare for cry therapy with the help of Gays and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ), which helped me financially as I had no money to travel to and from Harare for my treatment,” added Ncube.

A nurse at Kadoma General Hospital said many homosexual people came to the hospital to be treated of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, but some nurses discriminate them.

“Lots of gay people came here to get treated and most of them had anal warts. Homosexuality is something which is not allowed in our country and our culture is against them so it is difficult for gays to access medical at public hospitals because nurses discriminalise them,” said a nurse, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Kadoma General Hospital Medical Superintendent Kudzaishe Masendeke said there is no discrimination when it comes to accessing health services.

“Like any other patient if they are not happy with the services, we encourage them to report and an investigation is carried out,” said Masendeke.

The Zimbabwe Constitution is clear on access to health as Section 76(1) states that every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has the right to access to basic health care services including reproductive health care services.

Human rights lawyer Philemon Nyoni said that everyone has the right to access medical treatment.

“Our Constitution clearly states that everyone has the right to access medical treatment including minority groups,” said Nyoni

The extended Zimbabwe National AIDS Strategic Plan 3 (ZNASP3)6 conceded that “nearly 2000 new infections each year among men, who have sex with men (MSM)”.

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