South Africa-Health-Sterilisation

Forcibly sterilised S/African women demand justice

APA-Johannesburg (South Africa)

South African women sterilised by force or coercion in the country's public hospitals on the pretence that they were HIV positive are demanding justice from the local health authorities for the malpractice, APA learnt on Tuesday.

The women, welcoming the report which described the malpractice as “cruel and torturous,” made this known on Tuesday.

The disclosure of the malpractice first came to light five years ago following complaints from the victimised women, and this led the Commission for Gender Equality to embark on an inquiry into the issue.

The Commission for Gender Equality report has described the sterilisation of the women in the country’s public hospitals as “inhumane and degrading.”

Sphindile Mqadi, aged 21, claimed that she was sterilised at the King Edward Hospital in Durban when she was just 15 years of age.

She, however, was not HIV positive but was one of the women who laid a complaint against the health ministry through the Commission for Gender Equality.

She recalled her ordeal in the report: "They made me sign a consent form and I was only 15 years old. I didn't understand anything. I just thought doctors always know what's good for you.”

According to Mqadi, a Caesarian was performed on her when she gave birth to her son. But three days later - after noticing a foul smell coming from her - she was told her womb was septic and had to be removed.

That was on her 16th birthday, she said.

Due to this, she said: "I don't celebrate my birthday anymore. It's a painful memory for me. I’m scarred for life".

Since the procedure was irreversible, Mqadi said all she could do now was to focus on the child she has and further her studies as she awaits justice from the health authorities.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said he has contacted the Commission for Gender Equality to discuss the report and find a way forward for the victims.

NM/jn/APA

React to this article