Botched up sterilisations have claimed 14 lives in Bihar while many others reported complications, out of nearly 4.97 lakh sterilisations done during 2011-12. Hundreds of cases of failed sterilisation operations have also been recorded during the period.
According to Union Health Ministry statistics, Bihar ranked fourth in terms of fatalities while Tamil Nadu led the list with maximum number of deaths. In 2011, altogether 10 deaths were reported while four deaths have been reported so far this year. "The Union Health Ministry has taken up the matter with the health secretaries of Bihar and other states to review the performance of doctors in respect of quality," a health department official said.
In Araria district, a doctor did 53 sterilisation operations in a span of two hours at a middle school in Kaparfora village that did not have basic amenities like sterilising equipment. The medicines used were expired and the surgeries were carried out in the dark, under torchlight. Several women were left bleeding profusely while others developed complications after the botched up surgeries.
Similar cases were repeated in most districts where female sterilisation (mini-lab procedures) were outsourced to NGOs that take help of private doctors to conduct these surgeries in woefully unhygienic conditions. The complications developed due to negligence and unsanitary sterilisation camps, leading to deaths.
Sterilisation remains the most common method of family planning used in its Reproductive and Child Health Programme (Phase II), launched in 2005 with UK funding. In Bihar, private clinics receive R1,500 for every sterilisation, with a bonus of R500 a patient if they carry out more than 30 operations on a particular day. NGO workers who convince people to have the operations receive R150 a person, while doctors get R75 for each patient. "We pay a compensation of R600 to every woman who undergoes tubectomy and R1,100 to a man who undergoes vasectomy through the National Family Planning Insurance Scheme. The number of unsuccessful sterilisation cases is a marginal failure rate in comparison to around 4.97 lakh total sterilisation cases," the government official said.
Union health minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said in Lok Sabha recently, that the ministry had coughed up R5.13 crore as compensation for botched cases in Bihar and other states. Rules stipulate R2 lakh for death following sterilisation in the hospital or within seven days of discharge, R50,000 for death following sterilization within eight to 30 days of discharge, R30,000 for failed sterilisation and R25,000 for any complication within 60 days of discharge.