People with sex development disorders appeal for policies improvement

TANZANIANS with disorders of sex development (DSD) have advised the government to improve policies and regulations with a view to create friendly environment for them in accessing social services address discriminations against them.

The group raised concerns that they were facing challenge in accessing important social services, such as education, health, birth certificates and travel documents due to their gender ambiguity.

The biologically handicapped Tanzanians expressed their sentiments during a special one day seminar organized by the Tanzania Voice of Humanity (TVH) in Dodoma Region.

The round table discussion attracted high profile medical specialists, teachers and representative from the parliamentary committee on social services and community development.

In her presentation, Dr Edna Majaliwa, Pediatric Endocrinologist from Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), said there are only eight medical specialists in Tanzania with knowledge of providing services to the people with disorder of sex development.

“DSD is congenital condition in which development of chromosomal gononadal or anatomical sex is typical,” she said.

She added, most of the victims report to hospitals with their parents while still at small ages, but professionally they are required to go to hospitals when reaching 18 years old.

“We recommend that they come to hospitals when aged above 18 so that they can decide over their future gender status, whether to be operated to remain male or female,” she observed.

And Dr Majaliwa added, principally, the victims of the bi-sexual challenge are always experiencing activeness of one sexual organ than the other, the natural situation which often compels the suppression of the weak organ and activation of the strong one.

According to her, most of the victims are however failing to access medical treatment due to high prices of operations, which ranges from 100,000/- to 900,000/-.

For his part, Director of Finance and Project for TVH, Frank Musamba, said it was very unfortunate that even the country has no proper statistics (record) over the number of the Tanzanians who with gender ambiguity.

“We even tried to lobby for possibility to include a component of finding number of people with DSD during this year’s Population and Housing Census (PHS),” he informed.

He detailed, according to a slim survey conducted by the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), up to last year (2021) there were a total of 26 adults with gender ambiguity in Tanzania and 11 children, making a total of 37 victims.

“Dar es Salaam region leads with 9 victims, Kagera 6,” he said, adding, Lake Zone accounts for 30.3 per cent of the victims, whereby Coastal region has 27 per cent,” he noted.

Baby John Musamba, the founder of Tanzania Voice of Humanity (TVH), who is also the victim of the ‘serious health challenge’, said people with DSD are unfortunately discriminated even by their families.

“I didn’t initiate this NGO in order to seek public sympathy, but to be the voice for the ‘voiceless’ Tanzanians who face this challenge,” she said.

The Tanzania Voice of Humanity (TVH) is registered as a Non- Governmental organization under the Non – Governmental Organization Act, No 24 of 2002 with the major vision to ensure community of people disabilities and marginalized groups are recognized, become economically stable and well protected.

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