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Meeting the palliative and end of life care needs of gender and sexual minorities in Lebanon

Author: LebMASH
22 February 2018
  • Hibah Osman, Founder and Executive Director of Balsam; Kathryn Almack, Professor of Health and Family Lives, University of Hertfordshire, UK; and Claude Chidiac, Executive Board Member at LebMASH.

The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) will be running a workshop on 19 March, in collaboration with Balsam – The Lebanese Centre for Palliative Care, on meeting the palliative and end of life care needs of gender and sexual minorities.

This workshop is part of the annual national LGBT Health Week activities organised by LebMASH. It is the first initiative in Lebanon to focus on palliative and end of life care needs for gender and sexual minorities.  

The workshop is open to all health or social care professionals or students, who work or have an interest in palliative care, or provide care to people with advanced illness.

The aim of the workshop is to increase awareness about the specific needs and issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people living with advanced illness. 

It is also aimed at supporting participants to provide a culturally-sensitive service for LGBT people, and their families and partners within a palliative care context.

Claude Chidiac, Executive Board Member at LebMASH said: ‘’In Lebanon, legal and institutional support for LGBT people is thin, and palliative care provision remains scarce and fragmented. 

“This ultimately compounds the impact of social stigma and marginalisation, and results in unrecognised palliative and end of life care needs for the LGBT individual.

‘’We are delighted to work with Balsam, and include palliative and end of life care in our activities this year to raise awareness about the key concerns that LGBT people with advanced illness may face.

“We are also honoured to have Kathryn Almack, Professor of Health and Family Lives, University of Hertfordshire, UK, as a guest speaker’’.

‘’People should not have to worry about being treated fairly and with respect when accessing health services, let alone when they are dying or facing advanced illness. It is our hope that this workshop will help health and social care professionals to start a conversation in their service, organisation, or community about how to understand and respond to the unique needs of LGBT people.

“We also envisage that this event will help us better understand how to tailor future activities, which will further support the development of an inclusive culture within the health and social care arena in Lebanon’’.

Hibah Osman, Founder and Executive Director of Balsam, said: “We are very excited about hosting this workshop and starting a dialogue about the needs of LGBT people with serious illness in Lebanon.

“Our country is in the early stages of the development of palliative care. We are still focused on the challenges of access to opioid analgesics and the policy changes that are required to make palliative care more accessible.

“In this context, it can be easy to overlook some of the important details that are essential for the provision of quality palliative care. The specific health and psychosocial needs of gender and sexual minorities is one such detail that should not be overlooked especially in a setting of serious or life-threatening illness.

“LebMASH are doing a wonderful job of raising awareness about the health needs of LGBT people in Lebanon, and we at Balsam are happy to contribute to those efforts.

“This workshop is an opportunity for us to learn and improve the care we provide. It will also give us a much better sense of the challenges other providers are facing in caring for LGBT people in our setting.” 

For further information about the workshop, visit the LebMASH website.

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