The first annual LGBTI health expo was one of its kind in Botswana where health service providers and stakeholders came together to have a day of service provision to the LGBTI community in a safe, secure and discrimination free environment. The Health expo was initiated after realization by LeGaBiBo that most LGBTIs find it difficult and unsettling to access mainstream health facilities therefore making them prone to different aliments and lack of information on how to take care of them-selves to prevent different kinds of illnesses. It was also a chance for the organization to build more long term partnerships with these health care providers. This is to ensure that even afterwards; our membership can continue these visits are in a free and stigma free environment. This was also an effort to create a data base of how many LGBTI people need medical attention as well as the trend of what issues they bring forth to inform future endeavors of having a minimum health service package for the LGBTI community.
The objectives of the Health and Wellness Expo was to create an awareness on health issues affecting the LGBTI community, to create an understanding of the needs of the LGBTI community to help input in national health policies, to establish partnerships with health practitioners who will be advocates for the LGBTI community, and to raise create a culture of healthy living among the LGBTI community.
LeGaBiBo hosted two Health and Wellness expos; the first one was held in Francistown on the 7th February and the attendance by the LGBTI was very commendable. The second one was held in Gaborone on the 21st February, at the Botswana Family Welfare Association (BOFWA) premises. This event was made possible with the support from the Canadian Fund for Local Imitative (CFLI). LeGaBiBo partnered with Tebelopele Counseling and Testing Center, BOFWA, BosasNet and BONELA to avail their services to them.
One of the major outcomes of having this Health and Wellness is to have an increased number of LGBTI people who are aware of issues that affect their health and being able to be assertive when it comes to getting the right kind of service and treatment. It will also serve as a platform to collect data on issues of distribution of safe sex packs as well as the uptake of this service by LEGABIBO which will inform our planning and programming.