Mumbai (Noveber 4, 2014)


Stop the “camp method” of sterilisation, a coalition of pro-health networks and women’s groups have said, as more details emerge from Chhattisgarh where 11 women died, allegedly due to medical negligence.


The quality of care is seriously compromised in mass sterilisation programmes, the groups said in a combined letter. “The deaths and morbidities are a result of a botched-up sterilisation operation camp organised by a private hospital under the National Family Planning Programme in Takhatpur Block of Bilaspur district on November 8. Horrifically, during this camp, 83 women were subject to surgeries in a short span of 5-6 hours,” the note said, adding that it was a gross violation of the reproductive and health rights of the women.


Further, the note points out that the surgeries were conducted in complete violation of Supreme Court orders (Ramakant Rai Vs Govt. of India, 2005 and Devika Biswas Vs Govt. of India, 2012). These orders instruct that a maximum of 30 operations can be conducted in a day with two separate laparoscopes, only in Government facilities. Also, one doctor cannot do more than 10 sterilisations in a day. Wrong policies and practices of Governments with regard to family planning services also play a role in the present day situation, they said.


“Such ‘camps’ keep getting routinely organised everywhere in an irresponsible manner. Health providers in India confess that they are under pressure to fulfil unwritten target. The state still focuses on permanent methods of family planning rather than temporary methods. In addition, the two-child norm significantly contributes to the pressures for sterilisation. All this despite the Government of India’s promises of ‘Repositioning Family Planning’ – to move away from permanent methods to spacing methods, to increasing access to safe and effective contraceptives,” the note said.


In fact, at the London Summit on Family Planning (2012), India had committed to additionally providing 48 million women and girls with access to contraceptives by 2020. “However, around 1 in 5 women of reproductive age do not have access to contraception such as condoms and OC pills,” the note said.


Fix responsibility


The group further called for the Government to fix responsibility in terms of criminal negligence. Women, adolescents and men need to be provided with safe choices for contraception and emphasis should be placed on male sterilisation, which involves lesser health risks.


(This article was published on November 14, 2014)

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