1. Accueil
  2. Southern Africa
  3. Namibia

Shantel Ferreira, "You're trying to deny me giving birth"

WFP blanket feeding programme in the south of Madagascar Tomas de Mul/IRIN
WFP blanket feeding programme in the south of Madagascar
When doctors at Katatura State Hospital in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, booked Shantel Ferreira* for a follow-up operations after she gave birth to her first child, she thought nothing of it - until she started asking questions about the acronym "BTL" which appeared on her form. At the time, she had no idea the initials stood for a form of female sterilisation known as bitubal ligation.

According to the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS, Namibian HIV-positive mothers like Ferreira have been reporting cases of coerced or forced sterilisations since at least January 2008. Ferreira spoke to IRIN/PlusNews about how the birth of her second child almost did not happened.

"I gave birth early at seven months – the doctors said couldn't give me an operation then [what she thought was a routine follow-up procedure] so they booked me for another month. When I arrived, a nurse asked me why I was there. I told her I was booked into theatre, that's why I'm here.

"First thing, when I got there I asked the nurse about this paper they gave me to sign, I was like, 'What's this BTL?' She was like, 'Can't you see I'm alone here and I'm busy? Just sign the paper and put it on the desk. I'll come and tell you later.

"The next morning when I went to the theatre, the electricity went off so I went back to the wards to change and wait for the next day. So another [nurse] came in and this time she was friendly so I asked her what a 'BTL' was and she started explaining.

"I was like, ‘What? You’re trying to deny me giving birth to my child? Even it it's born sick, let me take care of it.' She said, fine then you should make a plan and leave this hospital.

"Me and my friend were both supposed to go in for an operation that day and we both just left 'cause when I found out what a BTL was, I told her. We were both scared so we just walked out.

"I've got two kids. Being a mom – there's ups and downs but it's good, and now people are being denied their right to have kids."

*not her real name


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Partager cet article

Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.

Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.

We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.

Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian. 

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.