NAIROBI – At least four HIV positive Kenyan women have gone to court claiming they were forcibly sterilized at a maternity hospital in the capital city of Nairobi, local media reported Thursday.
“The act of coercive and forceful sterilization of women living with HIV by way of bilateral tubal ligation without their informed consent, and the threat of withholding aid if they do not go through the process is degrading and an abuse of their dignity,” said the lawyer for the victims, Allan Maleche.
In addition, forty other HIV positive women were forced to undergo sterilization, two local NGOs told the Daily Nation newspaper.
According to the testimony of one of the complainants, she gave birth in a hospital in Nairobi under the condition that she would not be entitled to any maternity aid if she refused to be sterilized. She added that shortly before giving birth, she was handed a form to sign without reading it.
“I did not read the form and do not know its contents to date. I only became aware after several months that it was my consent for sterilization,” she said.
After giving birth, the woman returned to her usual clinic to get baby milk and food but she was told that she would not receive them unless she could prove that she had voluntarily submitted to tubal ligation. “The nurse at Pumwani (hospital) told me that the procedure was performed during the Caesarean operation,” said the complainant.
The four women gave birth in the same hospital in Nairobi and attend the same clinic which they claim has violated international health standards.