A spree of children in the family made her go for a sterilization operation at a government-run camp. But Dholki, a tribal woman in Madhya Pradesh, was in for a rude shock. Not only did she become pregnant with her seventh child but the infant was born blind.
The wife of daily wage labourer Jag Singh, Dholki is a resident of Taan village in Barwani district, over 300 km from state capital Bhopal. The couple believes the child was born visually impaired due to the negligence of the medical authorities.
An impoverished tribal, Dholki was operated upon at a government-run family planning operation camp at the Silawad Community Health Centre. But She went on to give birth to a blind baby girl this month.
Singh says, "It may be because of negligence in operation that my child has no vision as all other children of mine have no such problem."
As soon as the couple discovered that Dholki was pregnant, they contacted the medical staff at the community health centre but to no avail. After fruitlessly running from pillar to post, the couple finally gave up hope and Dholki delivered the girl.
The village sarpanch as well as state medical officials have promised help, but authorities at the Madhya Pradesh health department refuse to accept any mistake on their part.
"There are always one or two percent chances that operations fail to stop conception. So other options like abortion should have been done in such cases," DM Chouhan, the joint director of the health department, said.
Singh is now wondering how to bring up the seventh child. "We already have six children, four sons and two daughters, and it was difficult to feed them two meals a day; so we did not want another child."
The Madhya Pradesh government prides itself for achieving last fiscal's family planning target, conducting 643,000 successful family planning operations. So when such discrepancies crop up in the sterilization drive, officials say they are exceptions.