Woman sues Masindi district local government over sterilization

‘’Four months later, I failed to see my periods, and this prompted me to go for scanning, which unearthed that my uterus had been removed,’’ she explained.

By Our Reporter

Masindi: The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Uganda), together with a 35-year-old woman, have filed a civil suit against Masindi district local government and the attorney general over involuntary and forced sterilization on women who had been admitted to the district health center for operation.

The victim had been admitted for a medical operation to remove fibroid, but instead her ovaries and uterus were removed.

The victim (names withheld) told that she went to Mulago National Referral Hospital after failing to conceive. They did a scan, and it was discovered that she had fibroid, thus referring her to Kawempe Hospital for an operation.

‘’I wasn’t operated on at Kawempe Hospital after moving there several times. My friend referred me to one of the doctors at Masindi Hospital, who assured me of safe operation at a fee of 500,000 shillings,’’ she explained.

The 35-year-old victim narrated that on October 13, 2022, she traveled to Masindi for an operation that took place on October 15, 2022, and she was later discharged after the operation.

‘’Four months later, I failed to see my periods, and this prompted me to go for scanning, which unearthed that my uterus had been removed,’’ she further explained.

The victim is therefore demanding government compensation, stressing that her marriage is breaking because of her failure to conceive.

Susan Baluku, the legal adviser for strategic litigation at FIDA Uganda, told this publication that the case was initiated in response to the distressing incident where their victim lost her ovaries and uterus when she had gone for an operation to remove fibroid in her uterus.

‘’In 2022, our client was admitted to Masindi district health facility and during a medical operation that was meant to remove fibroid in her uterus, but instead her ovaries and uterus were removed,’’ she said.

Baluku asserted that they are joining their client to file a suit to challenge the violation of their client’s rights where she was subjected to forced sterilization while going under an operation meant to be fertility-saving.

She further accuses the government of failing to put in place laws that establish standard operating procedures that ensure women are not subjected to involuntary sterilization against their will during any kind of medical operation.

‘’The government has failed its duty of giving special attention to women, taking into account their maternal functions in society as enshrined in the constitution under Article 33,’’ Baluku said, adding that this creates a legal vacuum, leaving women vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

Baluku said the procedure under the assurance is a fertility-saving treatment designed to enhance their client’s chances of conceiving, stressing that the shocking revelation exposed a flagrant violation of her reproductive rights.

‘’FIDA-Uganda is now championing AA’s cause, seeking justice, and advocating for comprehensive measures to prevent such heinous acts from occurring in the future,” she said.

Dr. Jino Abiriga, the Acting District Health Officer for Masindi declined to comment on the matter when contacted.

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