Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 13th 2014 Contents B44
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Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, November 13, 2014
Eleven Indian women have died after undergoing
botched sterilisation surgeries at a government-run
health camp in the central state of Chhattisgarh.
More than 50 others are in hospital---at least 20 are
in a critical condition following the tubectomy oper-
ations. Officials deny negligence. Four health officials
have been suspended. State-run sterilisation camps
are held to curb India s 1.3 billion population. Most
of those operated on are women---many poor and
often paid to be sterilised. The tubectomies were
carried out on Saturday in Pendari village in Bilaspur
Villagers say 83 women---all between the ages of
26 and 40---were operated on in just six hours by one
doctor and his assistant. Reports say the women
started complaining of pain and fever, soon after being
operated on. A relative described the conditions at
the clinic as appalling.
"They just operated on them and left them. It s a
desolate place, there are no facilities there," DR Shinde
told the Associated Press. Preliminary examinations
showed the deaths had been caused by infection or
shock as a result of blood loss, state deputy health
director Amar Singh told the Press Trust of India
news agency. But Bilaspur district health officer Dr
RK Bhange told BBC Hindi: "The cause of the death
would be known only after the post-mortem report
Correspondents say all the women came from very
poor families. Those who survived are receiving treat-
ment in three different hospitals in the district. "Their
condition is very serious. Blood pressure is low, so
keeping the circumstances in mind, we are now con-
centrating on treating them, not on what caused this,"
Dr Ramesh Murty told reporters.
The state government has ordered an inquiry. Among
those suspended is a doctor who won a government
award last year for having conducted 50,000 steril-
isations, says BBC Hindi s Alok Putul.
"We ve constituted a committee to inquire into the
incident. We will take strict action against those found
guilty. At the moment though, we are concentrating
on giving proper medical care to the women," Chhat-
tisgarh Health Minister Amar Agrawal said. Botched
sterilisation operations are nothing new in India. In
January 2012, three men were arrested in Bihar state
for operating on 53 women in two hours.
The men had carried out operations in a field and
without the use of anaesthesia. Many people are wor-
ried about the size of India s booming population---
it is expected to overtake that of China by 2030.
Authorities in India have been promoting family
Indian women die
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and advice
Relatives mourn the death of women who died after undergoing sterilisation
surgeries, at a village near Bilaspur, in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh on
Tuesday. AP PHOTO
Female sterilisation works by sealing the
fallopian tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries
to the womb. This can be done using clips, clamps
or small rings or by tying and cutting the tube---
this stops the egg and sperm meeting, so
pregnancy can't occur.
Eggs will still be released from the ovaries as
normal, but they will be reabsorbed by the body
The procedure is very effective and
straightforward when carried out correctly and by
a highly trained professional. But it is not without
It requires an anaesthetic and there is a risk of
damage to other organs during the procedure.
There can be bleeding and infection too. It should
also be considered permanent---it is difficult to
planning for several decades, trying to convince people
to have smaller families. Sterilisation camps are fre-
quently held to carry out mass tubectomy operations
for women---or vasectomies for men--- and authorities
in several states have also offered incentives for couples
volunteering for sterilisation.
In some states, health workers also receive money
for each person they bring to a clinic to be sterilised.
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