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Botched sterilisation: Eight women die in Chhattisgarh; Modi orders probe

BILASPUR: A day after 8 women were reported dead at a sterilisation camp in Chhattisgarh, Prime Minister Narenedra Modi, who is on a 10-day foreign tour, has asked Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh to ensure a thorough investigation and action in the entire issue.

Eight women died and 52 others have been hospitalised due to botched surgeries at a government-organised sterilisation camp in Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur district. Four health officials including Chief Medical Health Officer of Bilaspur were suspended following the incident.

More than 60 women were admitted to different hospitals after they complained of complications following sterilisation surgery at the camp held at a private hospital in Pendari village on outskirts of Bilaspur town on Saturday, Bilaspur Collector Siddharth Komal Pardeshi said.

“Eight died after their condition deteriorated,” said Pardeshi. The deceased were all below 32 years of age.

The condition of at least 10 others was stated to be critical, officials said. The State government has constituted a high-level committee to probe the incident and promised strict action against the guilty. The government also announced Rs 2 lakh compensation to the kin of each of the victims. On November 8, nearly 83 women had undergone surgeries at the sterilisation camp held at Nemichand Jain Cancer and Research Centre at Pendari village of Takhatpur region. All women were residents of nearby villages.

The women were discharged on Saturday night but within 24 hours of the surgery, most of them complained of vomiting and abdominal pain following which 60 of them were rushed to different hospitals.

During treatment, two of them who were admitted to Bilaspur district hospital passed away on Monday, he said. Besides, three others, aged between 22-32 years and admitted to Apollo hospital, died on Monday night after their condition worsened, the Collector said.

The identity of one of the victims is still not known. Preliminary examinations suggested that a septic infection may be the cause of death, Deputy Director, Health Services, Amar Singh said, adding that a detailed autopsy report would reveal the exact reason behind the deaths.

“It’s a tragic incident. We have announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the family of the deceased,” Health and Family Welfare Minister Amar Agrawal told reporters. An investigation has been ordered into the incident and strict action will be taken against those found guilty, Agrawal said.

As many as 62 people were left blind in one eye after they underwent surgeries at cataract camps held between 2011—13 in the State. As per government statistics, a total of 44 people lost vision in an eye after they underwent cataract operation in the camp held at community health centres of Balod on September 29 in 2011.

Four people suffered similar loss of vision in a camp at Durg District hospital on March 27-28, 2012 and 14 people in a camp held at community health centre in Bagbahra town of Mahasamund on December 9-10, 2012.