This Article is From Nov 12, 2014

Chhattisgarh Sterilisation Deaths: All 83 Operations Fail, UN Expresses Concern

Chhattisgarh Sterilisation Deaths: All 83 Operations Fail, UN Expresses Concern

Families mourn the deaths of 11 women in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur on Tuesday. Photo: PTI

Bilaspur: All 83 operations for sterilization conducted in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur on Saturday have turned out badly. Eleven of the women have died, the rest are in hospital. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's conversation with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, a four member medical team from Delhi is on its way to Bilaspur. The UN, too, has expressed concern over the deaths.

Here are the latest developments in this story:

  1. Medical negligence - a fallout of the rush to meet the government's sterilisation targets - is suspected to be behind the deaths. All 83 women had reportedly been operated upon within five hours at the government-run Nemi Chand hospital in Bilaspur's Pendari.

  2. Amar Singh Thakur, Joint Director, Health, Bilaspur, said preliminary examinations suggest a septic shock may be the cause of death. This, he said, is triggered by infected surgical equipment.

  3. One of the suspended medical officers admitted government sterilization camps have specific targets to meet. "April to March there are annual targets, this was done according to that," said RK Bhamge.

  4. Another suspended official, Block Medical Officer Pramod Tiwari, added that they had operated upon twice the number of women required. "The daily target of a team is 40 sterilisations," he said.

  5. In his conversation with the Chief Minister, PM Modi expressed concern over the tragedy. A tweet from the Prime Minister's Office said, "The PM has asked @drramansingh to ensure a thorough investigation & action in the entire issue."

  6. The United Nations, too, has expressed concern over the deaths, reported news agency Reuters. "If the facts are confirmed, then a grave human tragedy has occurred," said Kate Gilmore, deputy executive director of the UN Population Fund. "Where there is deviation from clinical standards, there must be consequences."

  7. Admitting the possibility of negligence, the Chief Minister suspended four officials, including Dr RK Gupta, under whose supervision the surgeries were performed. He also ordered that a First Information Report be filed against him.

  8. Free family planning camps are held between October and February as part of a larger programme to control India's billion-plus population. The state gives Rs 1,400 to each of the women who undergo the surgery.

  9. The Chief Minister has hiked the compensation for the families of each of the deceased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 4 lakh.

  10. The state government has also come under fire from the Congress and the CPI(M), which demanded that state Health Minister Amar Agarwal, in whose constituency the incident took place, resign.