KARACHI: Directing the medical superintendent of the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) to provide treatment to transgender petitioners living with HIV, the Sindh High Court on Wednesday sought details of the Sindh government’s policy on medical treatment of transgender community.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed, was hearing the petition filed by two transgender rights activists Shahzad Ahmed Ujjan alias Shahzadi Rai and Hamza Bin Tariq alias Hina Baloch, along with three HIV-positive transgender people, against denial of medical treatment by the CHK due to their HIV status.
When the bench took up the matter for hearing, the CHK medical superintendent appeared in court and refuted the claim that the medical treatment had been wilfully denied.
He submitted that if the infected petitioners had been turned away due to any misunderstanding or oversight, it would be rectified without delay.
The MS submitted that Dr Hareesh Kumar had been appointed as focal person at the CHK and if the petitioners approached him, they would have been immediately attended and provided full medical attention.
He said that a protocol had been devised for dealing with HIV cases and the infected petitioners would be attended accordingly.
The bench asked the petitioners to approach the CHK focal person. It also asked the additional advocate general to file comments and assist the court regarding the overall government’s policy on medical treatment of transgender people.
The court will take up the matter after summer vacation.
Earlier, petitioners’ lawyer Sara Malkani had argued that they urgently needed total hip replacement surgery, treatment for joint pain, chronic kidney disease and other issues.
She said transgender people living with HIV had been denied repeatedly medical treatment in Sindh. She added that the denial was violation of the Sindh HIV and AIDS Control, Treatment and Protection Act 2013.
Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2023