MOSCOW, November 11 (Sputnik) — Eight women have died while undergoing sterilization surgery at a health camp organized by the government of the state of Chhattisgarh in central India, the local media reported on Tuesday.
Thirty other women are undergoing further hospital treatment due to complications from the sterilization process; doctors have said several are in a serious condition. All in all, 58 women have turned up for medical help after the operations.
The operations were carried out on 85 women Saturday as part of a family planning program. The residents say the surgeries were done hurriedly and have accused the doctors of negligence, claiming that all the women were operated on in just six hours by one doctor and his assistant.
Four officers have been suspended due to negligence, namely national planning program director K.C. Orao, Bilaspur chief medical officer Dr. Bhange, Dr. R.K. Gupta and block medical officer Dr. Pramod Tiwari.
The medics have denied these accusations of negligence.
"A medical team from Raipur has arrived. In total, 85 operations took place. A thorough probe will be conducted in the whole incident. Compensation will be given for the deceased families," Bilaspur Commissioner Sonmani Vora told RIA Novosti.
The state government has ordered an inquiry into the incident, Minister of State Shripad Naik told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
"I am very sad for this incident. Ministry of Health has set up an inquiry committee and we will wait for the report of the finding. These types [of] incidents happened in Chhattisgarh earlier also. We act against the culprits," Naik said.
The women undergoing the operation received 1,400 Indian rupees, the equivalent of about $22.40.
According to a 2013 article in Bloomberg, India performs about 37 percent of the world’s female sterilizations. In the world’s second largest country (its population totaled over 1.25 billion last year), the government issues quotas and financial incentives to doctors who perform the operations. This has contributed to the state’s fight against fertility; fertility rates in India hover at 2.5 births per woman, down from 5.84 in 1962, according to the World Bank.
Despite female sterilization being far more invasive than male sterilization, vasectomies accounted for just 4 percent of all sterilizations in 2012, when 4.6 million women were sterilized. Last year, Bloomberg quoted Kerry McBroom, the director of reproductive rights at the New Delhi-based Human Rights Law Network as saying:“Women are the easiest prey, whether it is government officials or their husbands asking them to undergo the operation.”