Monday, September 5

HIV positive Ugandan women complain of forced sterilization in govt hospitals

A study carried out in nine districts of Uganda by the International Community of Women living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA) has found 72 out of 744 HIV-positive women surveyed had been sterilised. Twenty of them had been forced to undergo the procedure, or it had happened without their consent, according to the report.

Hajarah Nagadya of ICWEA said that 18 of the 20 forced sterilisations had been carried out in government hospitals, and two cases occurred in private clinics.

“These women need psychological support such as counselling because a lot is going through their mind,” Nagadya said.
“Others want to consider a legal action, go to court and have the government compensate them.”

A spokesman for Uganda’s Ministry of Health said it was not government policy to sterilise women living with HIV/AIDS. Asuman Lukwago, the permanent secretary at the ministry, said such cases of forced sterilisation were a criminal offence.

However, he said there may be exceptional circumstances in which doctors may decide to sterilise women if they believed their lives would be in danger in pregnancy.

According to UNAIDS 2015 estimates, Uganda has an HIV prevalence of 7.1 percent among adults aged 15 to 49. An estimated 790,000 women aged 15 and over are living with HIV in the east African country.

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