India sterilisations: More Chhattisgarh botched cases

image source, Reuters
image captionThe government has ordered an inquiry into the botched sterilisations

An Indian woman has died and 15 others are in hospital after being sterilised at a state-run camp in the state of Chhattisgarh on Monday.

It comes just a day after 13 women, who were sterilised at another camp in the state on Saturday, lost their lives.

More than 60 women remain in hospital, many in a critical condition, following tubectomy operations.

Protests have been held over the deaths, and the state government has ordered an inquiry into the operations.

The latest sterilisations took place in the Gaurela area of Bilaspur district in Chhattisgarh.

The woman who died was from the protected Baiga tribe whose dwindling numbers make it illegal to sterilise them, BBC Hindi's Alok Putul reports from Bilaspur.

Authorities in India have been promoting family planning for several decades, trying to convince people to have smaller families.

media captionWomen were left on mattresses in the hospital corridor after their surgery, as Yogita Limaye reports

A total of 14 women are now known to have died in Chhattisgarh following the sterilisation operations on Saturday and Monday.

It is unclear what happened during Monday's sterilisation operations.

On Saturday, tubectomies were carried out on 83 women in Pendari village in Bilaspur district, by one doctor and his assistant.

According to government rules, one surgeon should only perform 35 operations in a day.

When the women were brought in to hospital after the operations, they were vomiting continuously and their blood pressure had fallen dramatically, correspondents said.

Negligence claims

A team of doctors from the capital, Delhi, have been flown to Chhattisgarh to help treat the women.

One of the doctors, Anjan Trikha, told reporters that it was still unclear what caused the deaths.

"The cause of illness can only be ascertained after all laboratory results and post-mortem findings are available," he said.

"Our main concern at this time is to ensure that there are no more casualties."

media captionThe women told the BBC their operations lasted five minutes, as Yogita Limaye reports

Local health officials have denied any responsibility for the deaths, but some suggested that medics were under pressure from the authorities to perform too many sterilisation operations in too little time.

The Chhattisgarh government has ordered an inquiry into the deaths and Chief Minister Raman Singh has said "it appears the incident occurred due to negligence" by doctors.

Saturday's victims' families, all from poor families, have each been promised compensation of about $6,600 (£4,150).

India's main opposition Congress party called a general strike in Chhattisgarh on Wednesday and demanded the resignation of the chief minister and Health Minister Amar Agrawal.

Sterilisation camps are frequently held to carry out mass tubectomy operations for women - or vasectomies for men - and in some states, health workers receive money for each person they bring to a clinic to be sterilised.

Many of the women who take part are poor, and are often paid to be sterilised.

Explaining female sterilisation: Michelle Roberts, Health editor, BBC News website

Female sterilisation works by sealing the fallopian tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the womb. This can be done using clips, clamps or small rings or by tying and cutting the tube - this stops the egg and sperm meeting, so pregnancy can't occur.

Eggs will still be released from the ovaries as normal, but they will be reabsorbed by the body instead.

The procedure is very effective and straightforward when carried out correctly and by a highly trained professional. But it is not without risks.

It requires an anaesthetic and there is a risk of damage to other organs during the procedure. There can be bleeding and infection too. It should also be considered permanent - it is difficult to reverse.

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