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NEWS: One doctor sterilised 83 women in 5 hours. And now 10 women are dead.

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Indian women are paid to undergo the risky sterilisation procedure. Photo: ABC.

By STEPHANIE MARSH.

Ten women have died in central India and dozens more are in hospital in a critical condition following a government-run mass sterilisation.

Local media in India reported 83 women volunteered to have sterilisation surgery at a family planning camp organised in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh over the weekend.

Authorities in Chhattisgarh said that many of the more than 80 women who had the sterilisation surgery fell ill shortly afterwards.

Local media said one doctor and an assistant carried out the surgeries in less than five hours.

Locals said the hospital was dirty and medicines were out of date.

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Indian women in Chhattisgarh. (Note: These are not the women referred to in the article.) Photo: Noah Seelam / Getty Images
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The region’s chief medical officer R.K. Bange said there was no negligence on behalf of the doctor but the incident will be investigated.

“As of now, the government has not found any evidence of negligence,” Mr Bhange said.

He said the government doctors who had performed the surgeries were experienced in the procedure.

Panel to investigate deaths linked to sterilisation procedures

Authorities said a three-member panel will be set up to investigate the deaths and post-mortem reports are expected soon.

Sterilisation camps are common in parts of India where women are often unaware of other birth control methods.

Governments in India often offer incentives including cash or household goods to men and women volunteering for sterilisation, in an effort to try to control the country’s population of more than 1 billion.

The women are often paid about $25 to have the surgery, a significant amount of money for many of India’s rural poor.

The women are often paid about $25 to have the surgery, a significant amount of money for many of India’s rural poor.

Health workers also get about $3.25 for bringing a woman to the camp.

More than 40 million sterilisations were performed in 2013-14, according to the government.

Between 2009 and 2012, India’s government paid compensation for 568 deaths resulting from sterilisation, the health ministry said in an answer to a question in parliament two years ago.

Health advocates worry that paying women to undergo sterilisation at family planning camps is both dangerous and, by default, limits their contraceptive choices.

“The payment is a form of coercion, especially when you are dealing with marginalised communities,” said Kerry McBroom, from the Human Rights Law Network in New Delhi.

This story was originally published on ABC and has been republished with full permission. You can read the original story on the ABC website here.

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