Women who have sex with women’s experiences with healthcare system in low-income countries: qualitative findings from Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

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  •   Happiness P. Saronga

  •   Jackline V. Mbishi

  •   Saidah S. Bakar

  •   Switbert R. Kamazima

Abstract

Introduction: Women who have sex with women (WSW) have a right to access health care. Many studies have reported lower access to health services by sexual minorities in many parts of the world. This study explored WSW’s experiences in accessing health care in Tanzania with the intention of determining specific issues facing WSW when accessing health care services.


Methods: This study was cross-sectional descriptive, and retrospective conduced in Dar-es-Salaam region, the largest commercial city in Tanzania. Study population included WSW aged 18 years and above who met inclusion criteria. Data was collected using focus group discussions (FGDs), in-depth interviews (IDIs), observation, and life stories. Data analysis applied thematic analysis.


Results: Most WSW receive rightful health services from public and private health providers. However, transgender WSW face stigma, discrimination, and disrespect from some public health facilities. Private health care providers offer trust, privacy and confidentiality to WSW, although at a higher cost of services compared to public health facilities.


Conclusion: Negative experiences with care may discourage WSW from seeking care or fully disclosing health concerns to providers limiting the extent of services offered.


Keywords: Health care utilization, Sexuality, Sexually transmitted infections, Tanzania, Women’s health, Women who have sex with women

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How to Cite
Saronga, H. P., Mbishi, J. V., Bakar, S. S., & Kamazima, S. R. (2021). Women who have sex with women’s experiences with healthcare system in low-income countries: qualitative findings from Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. European Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2(3), 142–145. https://doi.org/10.24018/clinicmed.2021.2.3.82