Women must be warned that undergoing sterilization may result in death, state human rights body has recommended, criticising the target-driven manner in which the birth control procedure is being carried out in the state.
The Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) recommended to the state government that women should be told in written or verbal form before the surgery that there is a risk of death on undergoing the sterilization. And this should be done in the presence of two witnesses whose signature or thumb impressions should be recorded, it said.
The recommendations come following the death of several women in the state following the procedure. Tubectomy is also the preferred birth control procedure of most couples in Madhya Pradesh and it is carried out in high numbers in sterilization camps.
‘Doctors are busy meeting their targets’
“In most of the camps, patients are not told about the risk of death. Doctors are busy meeting their targets,” additional director, MPHRC, L R Sisodia told HT.
“The aggressive sterilization policies of Indian government are evident in Madhya Pradesh. The government has gone to great lengths to incentivise female sterilization. In 2011, a few districts of MP and Rajasthan offered Tata Nano cars for bringing 500 people to sterilization camps,” member-advisor, Union ministry of health and family welfare, Alok Banerjee said.
‘Doctors who perform surgery just to meet targets shouldn’t be allowed to operate’
The Commission has also recommended that doctors who perform surgery just to meet the targets should not be allowed to operate and the health department should ensure that no death occurs during the operation.
A number of women have died of botched surgeries, including a 27-year-old woman who died after undergoing the operation at a sterilization camp in Taal town of Ratlam in 2015.
In August this year, target-driven doctors sterilized 11 women at a primary health care centre in Dhudhaka village—in the light of a torch.
Vasectomy or sterilization of men is only about 0.5% in MP
While Madhya Pradesh has a high incidence of sterilization among women at 42.2%, that of vasectomy or sterilization of men is only about 0.5%. In districts like Morena and Sheopur, the vasectomy rate is zero.