NAIROBI (TrustLaw) – Ruth Achieng, one of 40 HIV-positive women planning to sue the Kenyan government for forced or coerced sterilisation, knew nothing about her operation until it was too late. Achieng’s neighbours carried her to Nairobi’s Kenyatta National Hospital after she started bleeding profusely. She was having a miscarriage.
Kenya has launched an investigation after researchers claimed HIV-positive women were being routinely sterilised without their consent in government hospitals. A study by the African Gender and Media Initiative, based on interviews with 40 women, suggested the practice was widespread and ongoing.
Doctors in government and public hospitals are being investigated after a study claimed that they are sterilising women with HIV without their knowledge. Others are forcing them to undergo tubal ligation in exchange for antiretroviral treatment, according to the survey.
In a case similar to what happened in Namibia where three women were violated in terms of their health rights wherein they were forced into sterilization, more than 35 women in Kenya are considering taking legal action against hospitals, their husbands as well as the government after they were forcefully sterilised.
Three years ago, 28-year-old Jones Imbwaga’s dream of motherhood was shattered. She says she was sterilised without informed consent at a Kakamega hospital, owing to her HIV positive status. “The nurses told me women of my status should not give birth,” says Imbwaga, who was 25 years old then.
Over 40 HIV-postive women who were allegedly sterilized against their will go to court to demand justice and possible compensation. The chairperson of the National Gender and Equality Commission Winfred Lichuma who is championing the women’s cause described what happened to the women as “atrocious an infringement of their human rights and contrary to medical […]