What you need to know:
- Four women have been awarded Sh12 million as compensation for being sterilised without their informed consent by a Kenyan court.
- Justice Mrima sitting at the High Court of Nairobi , put an end to the nine-year case.
- The judgement is the second in Kenya’s history to find that certain medical facilities have performed sterilisation on women living with HIV without their informed consent.
The High Court of Kenya has awarded four women Sh3 million each, as compensation for being sterilised without their informed consent.
Justice Mrima sitting at the High Court of Nairobi last Thursday, put an end to a nine-year case where three medical institutions were implicated in conducting procedures on women living with HIV without their knowledge.
Médecins Sans Frontières – France (MSF- France), Pumwani Maternity Hospital and Marie Stopes International were found to have violated the fundamental freedoms of the four women including their rights to dignity, freedom from discrimination, right to the highest attainable standard of health, and the right to establish a family as provided in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
The Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network (Kelin) Kenya, a human rights organisation that was also a petitioner in the case, issued a press release describing the decision as a key reminder that , ‘ women living with HIV possess the inherent right to make informed choices regarding their reproductive decisions,’.
Kelin also reiterated that medical facilities must be reminded of the importance of obtaining informed consent from patients who seek medical treatment on their premises.
However, the court dismissed claims against the Cabinet Secretary for Health and the Attorney General who had also been named as respondents in the case.
Justice Mrima argued that the government had already discharged its duty by implementing a comprehensive legal and policy framework to ensure that robust procedures for obtaining informed consent were in place before individuals received medical services. Therefore, the three medical institutions are liable for sterilising the women without their informed consent.
The judgement is the second in Kenya’s history to find that certain medical facilities have performed sterilisation on women living with HIV without their informed consent.
In December last year, the Supreme Court issued a judgement against Marura Maternity Hospital for performing a tubal ligation on a woman without her informed consent. The woman was awarded Sh3 million as compensation for violation of her reproductive health rights.