10 Indian women die, dozens sick after mass sterilization

Indian women who underwent sterilization surgeries receive treatment at the CIMS hospital in Bilaspur, in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, on Tuesday.

Indian women who underwent sterilization surgeries receive treatment at the CIMS hospital in Bilaspur, in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, on Tuesday.

RAIPUR: Ten women have died in India and dozens more are in hospital, some in a critical condition, after a state-run program that pays women to undergo sterilization went badly wrong, officials said Tuesday.

Sterilization is one of the most popular methods of family planning in India, where the government provides cash and other incentives to try to control the country’s billion-plus population, but rights groups say the system is often abused.

More than 60 women fell ill after undergoing the surgery over the weekend in the central state of Chhattisgarh, and 10 have now died, local official Sonmani Borah said.

“With two more deaths reported today (Tuesday), the death toll in the family planning operation-related case has gone up to 10,” Borah said by phone. Around 80 women had the procedure at the local government-run sterilization camp. The women suffered vomiting and a dramatic fall in blood pressure, said Borah, the commissioner for Bilaspur district, where the camp was held.

It was not immediately clear what caused the deaths, but doctors in the state said the women’s symptoms suggest the drugs they were given after the relatively simple procedure may have been the cause. State governments in India frequently organize mass sterilization camps under a national program whereby women are given 1,400 rupees ($23) as an incentive to have the operation.

 
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