PATNA: Around 24 village women who had opted for tubectomy at two state-run public health centres in Bihar‘s Khagaria over the weekend were allegedly made to undergo the surgical procedure to prevent pregnancy without anaesthesia, leaving them awake and writhing in pain on the operating table. The standard practice for tubectomy is to use local anaesthesia.
Khagaria DM Alok Ranjan Ghosh instituted an inquiry on Wednesday, based on the accounts of the women who claimed to have gone through the horror.
“As I screamed in pain, four people held my hands and feet tightly as the doctor completed the job. I was administered something that left me numb only after the surgery,” said Kumari Pratima, one of those who underwent the procedure at the Alauli health centre.
Another of the women said she was conscious throughout the surgery. “I felt severe pain when the blade made contact with my body,” she mentioned in her complaint.
The 24 women were part of a group of 53 who underwent the procedure, involving surgical clipping of the fallopian tubes, as part of a government-sponsored campaign run by NGOs. “I have asked the civil surgeon to inquire into the matter and submit a report soon,” DM Ghosh told TOI.
Civil surgeon Dr Amarnath Jha said he had sought clarifications from the officials in charge of the two health centres. “Strict action will be initiated once accountability is fixed.”
Alauli health centre in-charge Dr Manish Kumar said he had blacklisted Global Development Initiative, the NGO behind the tubectomy initiative there, after receiving complaints.
Parbatta health centre in-charge Dr Rajiv Ranjan claimed anaesthesia was used, but possibly didn’t work on some of the women. “The required dose of anaesthesia was administered to each woman, but it didn’t prove effective as every person has a different body mechanism,” he said. The state health department reportedly paid Rs 2,100 to the NGOs for every tubectomy.
A similar incident had taken place in Araria district in 2012, when tubectomy was performed on 53 rural women in the span of two hours. Three people were arrested and jailed for risking the lives of the women and putting them through surgery without anaesthesia.