Horror in a mass sterilization camp in India

Michael Cook
2 Mar 2013
Reproduced with Permission

For decades the Indian government has been encouraging women to be voluntarily sterilized - and they have coopted state and local governments to help persuade the women. Sadly, it seems that on the ground women are being coerced into having the operation and given substandard care.

Earlier this month four doctors in a West Bengal public hospital performed up to 106 sterilization operations in a single day, with hospital staff dumping patients in a nearby field to recover. The speed of the operations left medical experts extremely concerned - one sterilization operation usually takes around 20 to 30 minutes. The women were taken to a nearby dirty field and left unattended, despite the risk of infection and complications after the operation. The women were moved as the hospital had only 30 beds available for female patients.

The state hospital regulations allow for only 25 sterilizations a day, and a government investigation has been launched into the incident.

Analysts have suggested that the high volume of women seeking sterilization is the result of incentives offered by the local government. Couples are offered cars, gold and electrical goods in return for volunteering for sterilization.