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United Nations wants say in case of woman sterilised at city hospital

By Caroline Rwenji | July 14th 2015

The secretariat of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids has sought to be enjoined in a case where a woman has accused a maternity hospital of forcibly sterilising her.

The institution stated they are interested in the case because they want to ensure the court is appraised of the international perspectives and standards relating to HIV and reproductive health.

Through an affidavit, Mariangela Batista Galvao Simao, the director of the rights, gender, prevention and community mobilisation department of the secretariat of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAids Secretariat) asked the court to allow their participation because of their mandate and expertise on HIV and reproductive health.

"It is only fair that the applicant (UNAids Secretariat) be enjoined to these proceedings as its presence is necessary," High Court Judge Isaac Lenaola heard.

Justice Lenaola directed the parties to come for further directions on the matter on July 29 before Justice Mumbi Ngugi.

The organisation wants to be party in the case where the woman only identified as LAW has sued Marura Medical Centre located in Mathare of sterilising her without her knowledge.

She has filed the suit alongside the Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV and Aids (Kelin) and the African Gender and Media Initiative (Gem).

LAW told the court that she found out about her condition on March 2006 when she was expecting a child.

She said she is HIV positive and on anti-retroviral therapy.

LAW said that during her visits to the Baba Dogo Health Centre, a nurse advised her not to have any more children due to her status.

At eight months, she said, she was given two vouchers one labeled CS and another TL worth Sh300 at the Baba Dogo Health Centre, which she was asked to use when delivering at the Marura Maternity and Nursing Home.

The woman says she was admitted at Marura Maternity Hospital on September 15, 2006, where she delivered a baby boy and where the procedure was done

She explained she lost her husband thereafter and remarried and is now aggrieved that she cannot conceive with her current husband.

In July 2010, she further stated, she went for a free medical camp and explained her predicament and on tests being done, it was discovered that she been sterilised.

She told the court that the tubal ligation procedure done without her knowledge is an infringement on her reproductive health rights and violates her dignity.

"All these actions and conditions under which the procedure was done and under which she was not given proper and full information to allow her make an informed decision to undergo the tubal ligation are a violation to her constitutional rights, impede the effective management of HIV and go against medical best practices," the court heard.

She is now seeking damages and wants the court to declare that the procedure was illegally done and violated her rights.

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