Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Birth control for Orang Asli women – was there informed consent?

Yoursay  |  Published:  |  Modified:

YOURSAY | ‘Birth control when they do not want it is akin to sterilisation…’

Birth control meant to save Orang Asli women with anaemia – Dzulkefly

Fredtan: This is a stupid answer by Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad. Who are you or the medical personnel to take the liberty to (temporarily) “sterilise” the Orang Asli women without getting their permission first?

As long as the patients don’t give a clear go-ahead, no one has a right to administer any medicine that may affect their basic rights. Please don't play God.

Anonymous_3f4b: Forced medication for birth control when they do not want it is akin to sterilisation.

This is a clear abuse of human rights and ethnic discrimination of the first order.

Anonymous_4c57f270: Anaemia? What a retarded justification, it's ethnic cleansing.

The American government did the same thing to Native American women in the middle of the 20th century to reduce their population.

The government needs to make a public apology and provide remedies to the affected Orang Asli for this barbaric act.

Bo Kia: There is something nefarious going on. In all antenatal clinics, there will be some pregnant women whom for various reasons are found to be anaemic.

You treat the anaemia appropriately after finding out the cause and birth control has never been part of the treatment.

Moreover, you need consent after counselling to start somebody on birth control. Moreover, in certain religions, birth control is a very sensitive issue.

Fair Malaysian: I had very high regard for Dr Dzulkefly and expected a better answer than the one he has offered.

1. It is quite common for pregnant women to be anaemic, but you don't treat it with birth control pills. What a retarded answer.

2. If such a condition is prevalent among them, why was it not addressed before they conceived?

Some of the coarse and harsh language used on Orang Asli apparently indicates neither benevolence nor an honest attempt to help them.

The feeble attempt by the minister to downplay or even outright dismiss the dismal behaviour by the health authorities is not going to augur well to bridge the trust deficit we faced with the BN regime.

Here I am, talking so highly about Dr Dzulkefly to everyone I know and meet. What is wrong in calling a spade a spade?

Hopefully, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waythamoorthy keeps true to his word to find out the truth and redress any shortcomings.

KS: The Health Ministry and its staff should have explained better, and get NGOs or some independent bodies - such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) - to help monitor against abuse.

But anaemia, malformed blood cell production, or Thalassemia, is prevalent and hereditary within many indigenous groups in southwest China, Taiwan, supposedly Kadazan and other groups. It can contribute to mother and infant fatalities, especially when both parents have it.

Anaemia is theorised to have evolved as an imperfect way to fend off malaria and was named after its discovery within groups in the Mediterranean area.

But having children is such an important part of human rights that the Health Ministry must have independent agencies to monitor what it does, publish reports, explain how it plans to let the women resume fertility, and the quality of contraceptives it administers.

VoteOfOne: Anaemia is not caused by pregnancy, though pregnancy complicates issues already faced by one suffering anaemia. Amongst many reasons, the main cause of anaemia is malnutrition.

This is a classic excuse when one treats the signs and symptoms but not the root of the illness.

It is one thing if Dzulkefly is a doctor, bogged down with many hundreds of patients to treat with limited resources due to budget cuts.

But he is not. He is the health minister.

Anonymous_1372521655: This is the flimsiest excuse ever given by a minister in the Pakatan Harapan government.

What is happening is far more serious and sinister than the reason for treating anaemia. There are proper treatments for anaemia. Why were the proper treatments not given?

I am beginning to lose hope with the Harapan government.

Mananwan: Indeed, this is a roundabout way to solve anaemia. Just treat the anaemia by giving iron and folate as what was done with the rest of the population.

Anaemia during pregnancy is common and surely the Health Ministry knows this.

Hopeful123: I thought they should be given vitamins and iron tablets to overcome anaemia.

I too would be puzzled and angry if given birth control pills without any explanation.

Ali: I feel so too that this is genocide/ethnic cleansing. The Health Ministry seems to be able to supply prenatal vitamins for one group of people, but are chemically castrating the Orang Asli.

I think medroxyprogesterone is the most common intravenous contraception available. There's a list of nasty side effects for that drug; you can google it yourself.

It is unethical what the Health Ministry is condoning to happen. I expect the minister to give a stop order and explain this to the public first, and to those directly affected by it, the Orang Asli.

Shame on you! You are unfit to be a minister.

Anonymous 2461691488937729: As a doctor, this is the first time I have heard of anyone using birth control to treat anaemia.


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These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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