April 13, 2011
Several South African newspapers paid attention to the news that an American organisation is planning to offer sterilisation to women living with HIV in South Africa.
Health and human rights organisations are worried that this will be done unethically – under pressure, without informed consent or by offering incentives poor women cannot refuse.
US project planning to sterilise HIV+ women in SA
11.04.2011, Anso Thom, Health-e News
A controversial US project that pays drug users and alcoholics to undergo sterilisation or long-term contraception, is setting its sights on women living with HIV in South Africa. Founder of Project Prevention Barbara Harris has confirmed that they were making plans to offer similar services to women living with HIV in South Africa as well as drug users.
‘We have had huge interest in South Africa from organisations and concerned citizens,’ said Harris, adding that they would be joining forces with local non-governmental organisations. While she declined to identify them, she said ‘we have many wanting to work with us. How can anyone object to anything that can prevent innocent children suffering needlessly?’ asked Harris. However, Professor Eddie Mhlanga, Chief Director for Maternal, Child and Women’s Health in the health department said they would approach the Human Rights Commission if the project started operating in South Africa.
He also warned that doctors found co-operating with the organisation in any medical interventions would be reported to the Health Professions Council of South Africa. ‘We do not support it and we find it very worrisome,’ said Mhlanga. Project Prevention is already operating in parts of Kenya, where it is paying women living with HIV U$40 to accept long-term contraception. A doctor is paid U$7 per patient.