Transgender Health Training for Pacific Health Workers


Contextual Background

Vulnerable populations in the Pacific are currently not receiving adequate HIV services as reported in the Pacific Multi-Country Mapping and Behavioural Study: HIV and STI Risk Vulnerability among Key Populations was a key finding of this study conducted by University of New South Wales the and ASHM in 2016 in nine Pacific Island countries in Kiribati, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, The Kingdom of Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and The Republic of Marshall Islands.

In 2017, as part of ASHM's Pacific Sexual Health Workforce Capacity Building Program (a joint regional capacity building initiative between ASHM and The Oceania Society for Sexual Health and HIV Medicine to provide clinical mentoring, training and resources to health professionals working in HIV, TB and STIs in eleven Global Fund-supported Pacific countries) the development of a training package was commenced aimed at health care workers with an Introduction to addressing transgender health needs.


Pictured above:  In April 2018, a one-day training was facilitated by Dr. Arun Menon (ASHM), Dr. Dashika Balak (OSSHHM) and Gigi Baxter from V-Pride Foundation (a transgender organisation) to 15 participants held at the Vanuatu Ministry of Health in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Project Focus

  • The development of a training package aimed at Pacific health workers in Pacific countries to serve as a basic guidance for health workers on transgender health needs and ways to support trans people to reduce stigma and discrimination
  • To draw on existing documentation, as well as, consultation with Pacific transgender people and Pacific health workers
  • To provide training on HIV testing, counselling and treatment as part of comprehensive HIV and sexual health services – including essentials of history taking and examination as an entry point for the delivery of comprehensive health care
  • Provide general information on specific gender-affirming healthcare  including hormone therapy, and working with gender-diverse children and youth

Project Timeline



In December 2017, this 1-day training package was developed and reviewed in consultation with Pacific Sexual Gender and Diversity Network members and Pacific health workers.

In April 2018, a one-day training was facilitated by Dr. Arun Menon (ASHM), Dr. Dashika Balak (OSSHHM) and Gigi Baxter from V-Pride Foundation (a transgender organisation). The training was divided into two themes:  The social and cultural aspects of transgender health; and clinical care for transgender clients

15 participants in attendance comprised of medical officers form the medical department and TB, midwifes, peer educators, laboratory technicians and blood bank technician, nurses and representatives from CSOs such as Vanuatu Womens Association, Family Health Association and Wan Smol Bag. Read more


In 2018, ASHM will scope the possibility to deliver this training to specific Pacific countries with large transgender populations, as well as, developing the training into online course format.

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Michelle O'Connor  |  ASHM International HIV&SRH Program Adviser  |  +61 2 8204 0736