REGIONAL May 13, 2013

Spotlight: Naz Male Health Alliance, Pakistan

Founded in 2011, Naz Male Health Alliance (NMHA) is the first and only men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) and transgender community based organisation in Pakistan, and is providing technical, financial and institutional support for improving the sexual health, welfare and human rights of the MSM and transgeder community throughout the country. They do this by providing technical support and capacity building exercises to various  stake holders, networks, groups and organisations.

Naz Male Health Alliance envision a society where all people can live with dignity, self-respect and social equality. They strive for the advancement of the social and health needs of the marginalized  MSM and transgender population across Pakistan by developing and supporting community-led health and social interventions along with advocating for social justice, equity, health and well-being.

As part of its on-going work to empower the MSM and transgender community, Naz Male Health Alliance has been working with the community in 5 cities across Pakistan (Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad and Larkana) to establish 6 community based organisations. These CBO offices are strategically located close to the “hotspots” and in areas where there is a large concentrate of hijra (transgender) deras (dwellings) in order to provide easy access, secure and relaxing atmosphere for the economically deprived low income community members who are our primary beneficiaries.

The service delivery on the CBO level, which receive financial as well as technical support from NMHA, includes HIV VCT, STI diagnoses and treatment, BCC, and condom/ lubricant distribution…both via outreach as well as through the DIC/clinic. Each CBO is segregated into two portions. One portion of the office includes a drop-in center where the community is provided with a secure and comfortable environment in hopes of strengthening the community while the second portion is used to provide clinical services.

Naz Male Health Alliance believes in value of research and is committed to generate evidence for designing need based and targeted interventions for MSM and transgender communities in Pakistan. Keeping this in view, a number of research initiatives (qualitative and quantitative) have been undertaken during the short period of time that the have been operating.

Naz Male Health Alliance has a policy to operate in a minimal visibility mode due to the conservative religious culture, political volatility and security situation in Pakistan.  Therefore, the organisation has no public presence including no website or a page on any social network sites.   This “invisibility policy” has been developed to protect the identity of both the clients as well as the staff. As an Islamic Republic, Pakistan’s punitive laws against MSM behaviour remains the biggest barriers in the service delivery to the community. As per the Pakistan Penal Code – Section 377 and the Hudood Ordinance, the punishment for someone who is caught engaged in MSM behaviour may receive upto 100 lashes and can be imprisoned for up-to 10 years or sentenced to death via stoning.

For more information about Naz Male Health Alliance contact

Mr. Qasim Iqbal- Executive Director NMHA

If you would like more information about Pakistan, including most recent HIV surveillance data and information on the legal environments for MSM and transgender people, please follow the link to the MSM Country Snapshot Series.

Photo Caption: Team photo of the staff working at Naz Male Health Alliance.

© Naz Male Health Alliance

Source: APCOM