Health Dept. to meet with Gender Equality Commission following forced sterilisation report

Health Dept. to meet with Gender Equality Commission following forced sterilisation report

The United Nations has welcomed the Health Department's decision to meet with the Commission for Gender Equality - over its report on forced sterilisations.

Hospital Beds / Pexels
Hospital Beds / Pexels

The commission found that pregnant HIV positive women were coerced into signing consent forms for sterilisation at public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

It's alleged those who refused to sign were threatened with withholding of treatment. There are at least 48 known cases where women were apparently forced to have the procedure. 

The commission's report was released this week - it has asked victims to come forward. 

Phindile Mqadi says she fell ill after giving birth at a Durban hospital seven years ago. She says doctors told her her uterus needed to be removed in an emergency procedure.

READ: Premature newborn dies after Durban nurses allegedly ignore pregnant woman's pleas

"My aunt came to visit me, and I told her that the doctor said he is removing my womb cause its septic. They asked me whether the doctor give me further explanation on what does this mean for you and I said no. They just said I am going to die so, I couldn't risk my life."

She says she feels dehumanised. "The first thing of not going on your menstrual cycle, that's something else. I am only just going to turn 22. It hasn't been a good journey for me."

Listen below:

Bongekile Msibi, who's also a victim of forced sterilisation, says the ordeal she went through at the age of 17 has scarred her for life.

Msibi's uterus was removed without her knowledge and consent, over a decade ago, while she was giving birth at Joburg's Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. 

She has been detailing her life-changing ordeal following the release of a report on forced sterilisations at public hospitals. 

READ: Coronavirus: KZN hospitals ready

Msibi - who's since founded the Hopeville Foundation Support Group - says she only realised what happened to her years later when she had trouble conceiving. 

"It's bad that I am expected to just be ok with it. It's disgusting how we are treated. How am I expected to be ok when there is now even a verbal explanation of what happened?"

Listen below: 

Zeenat Abdool  - who is with the UN in South Africa - says what has come out of the report is horrific.

"According to the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel inhuman and or degrading treatment or punishment forced and coerced sterilisation is gross human rights and medical ethics violation. It is often described as an active torture and cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment."

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