Namibians protest sterilisations8th June 2010
Three women from Namibia who are HIV positive say they were sterilised without their consent.
Since mother-to-child HIV transmission can be prevented using drugs, it is completely unnecessary to sterilise HIV-positive women, experts say.
The women are being backed by legal aid groups in an effort to sue the Namibian government.
The Legal Assistance Centre, a legal aid group, said that Namibian protesters had already begun to sue the government there, and that protesters were organising sit-ins.
The three women who claim to have been sterilised without consent say that the government violated their right to bear children.
Although the women will soon be able to seek damages at a trial, the sit-ins will continue after the trial has taken place.
The hearing will be the first such legal challenge in the southern African country.
The Namibian government claims that it was able to obtain the consent of the three women when it sterilised them.
Vicky Noa, a protest organiser for the women's cause, said that people wanted to demand fair medical treatment from the Namibian government, and that people should have peace of mind about going to the hospital for HIV treatment.
She said that, if people were scared of being sterilised, they would stop using the hospital services, because they would fear they would lose their right to bear children.
Mark Nonkes, a spokesman for the Legal Support Center, said that about 40 people had protested the sterilisations in front of Katutura hospital.
Katutura is located near Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia.
The name 'Katutura' means 'the place where we do not want to live,' and refers to the forced removal of Windhoek's black population from what was built into an upscale suburb during the country's German colonial period.
Protesters also visited a second hospital north of the capital.
According to UNAIDS, about one-fifth of all Namibians have HIV.
Veronica Kalambi, who works with the Women's Health Network there, said that state health institutions in Namibia often violated women's rights.
She said that HIV-positive women were only beginning to hold the health system accountable for what it had done.
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Thursday 10th June 2010 @ 12:20
Considering that there are so many orphaned children in this world let alone the continent - due to a number of factors including the major factor of HIV - how can one be willing to give birth whilst HIV positive knowing that there is a good chance the child will be orphaned eventually.
It is suffice to say that both parents will be infected as they have to have unprotected sex in order to reproduce - and although I sympathize - is there not enough destruction and poverty in this world? Now people want to have children with the knowledge that they may not be a big part of their lives for the most part anyway.
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Title: Namibians protest sterilisations
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 15076
Date Added: 8th Jun 2010