‘They know better than we doctors do’: providers’ preparedness for transgender healthcare in Vietnam

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While recognition of transgender people has increased in Vietnam, this population continues to face significant stigma and discrimination within their families and in public, including in medical settings. Understanding of transgender health is limited, especially regarding the provision of care to transgender people. This paper explores providers’ preparedness for delivering transgender care using data from qualitative interviews with twelve healthcare professionals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Drawing on the socio-ecological model, we illustrated multi-level factors that influenced the provision of medical services to transgender people, including restrictive legislation (policy level); shortage of transgender-specific services, and lack of training and guidelines (organisational level); and ambiguous perceptions, inappropriate provider-patient communication, and medical knowledge gaps (individual level). Overall, our study has identified a healthcare environment that is under-prepared to meet the complex health needs of transgender individuals. With this study, we call for intervention strategies beyond individual-level support and emphasise the urgency of allowing medical institutions to provide transgender-specific health services including gender-affirming surgery and hormonal treatments.




Do, T. T., & Nguyen, A. T. V. (2020). ‘They know better than we doctors do’: providers’ preparedness for transgender healthcare in Vietnam. Health Sociology Review, 29(1), 92–107. https://doi.org/10.1080/14461242.2020.1715814

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