Preparations for Proposing Public Policies to Improve Transgender Health Care in BiH

On June 10 and 11, 2022, the Sarajevo Open Centre and a transgender advocacy group with their parents held a working meeting in Sarajevo with health care institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the topic of drafting public policies to cover the costs of gender reassignment procedures for transgender people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The activity is one of the advocacy steps-meetings within the project entitled “Improving the rights and position of transgender persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina” which is implemented within the USAID/INSPIRE Human Rights Protection Support Program, and is directly aimed at the necessity of adequate regulation of legal gender reassignment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as covering the costs of the reassignment through the BiH health insurance system.

Representatives of health care institutions – health insurance institutes/funds, ministries of health of cantons/entities, and medical chambers – attended the meeting and shared their perspectives, emphasizing the importance of influencing legislative policy at the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, and Brčko District levels in order to provide an adequate legal framework for realizing the full capacity right to legal and health protection of transgender people.

During the discussion with trans people and their parents, i.e., during the preparation of specific public policy proposals, it was determined that public policy should be defined in the direction of amendments to key legal regulations at the entity level: the law on health care, i.e., the law on health insurance, by-laws on establishing the basic package of health rights and conditions, as well as procedures for referring insured persons for treatment abroad. It is also necessary to advocate for amendments to the standards and norms of health care from mandatory health insurance, specifying in the nomenclature of services health care of transgender people – gender reassignment, and supplementing the tariff lists of health services accordingly.

The advocacy group mapped the needs for meetings with competent institutions in the field of health care in order to work on initiating concrete solutions for access to gender reassignment procedures and education of medical professionals in medical branches participating in the transition process as the next advocacy steps.

We hope that the collaborative efforts of the SOC, the advocacy group, and the relevant institutions will yield the desired outcomes in meeting the health requirements of trans people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are currently denied to them.

For more information about the project, you can contact the program coordinator, Delila Hasanbegović Vukas, via email [email protected].