The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Family planning goes sterile

Suti (Murshidabad), Jan. 17: More than 500 women who turned up at the health centre in Suti II block on Wednesday to get sterilised left without being operated on because of lack of doctors.

Health officials attributed the botch-up to lack of communication and paucity of funds.

Health workers who had been doing the rounds of villages convincing women with more than four children to go for ligation at the block hospital said they were “unaware” that the district health department did not have funds to hold sterilisation camps or arrange for doctors.

“I had convinced more than a hundred mothers to turn up for the surgery and they had agreed after a lot of counselling at the sub-centre. Later, we were told only seven women could go through the micro-surgery. On Wednesday, four were operated on. The rest were asked to leave. It will be very difficult to convince them to come another day,” said Aparna Das, a health worker at the sub-centre in Auranagabad.

Parbati Das, a college student and a health volunteer, had made 24 mothers of Dafahat village agree to go for the surgery after several sessions with them. She feels let down. “I had submitted their names to the health centre in November and none of them were operated on. I have complained to the block medical officer and the sub-divisional officer. These mothers have children whom we have to administer polio vaccine and the failure to operate on them will have an effect on the pulse polio programme scheduled for February 7,” Parbati pointed out.

Binita Kundu of Dafahat, the wife of a farm labourer and the mother of five was among the women who had gone to the block health centre on Wednesday. “Let them try to tell me a thousand times, I will not go in for the operation. Let these health workers try and come to feed my children polio drops, I will shoo them away,” she said.

“Lack of co-ordination between doctors and the health workers led to the crisis. I will definitely ask the district’s chief medical officer for an explanation,” said Somnath Mitra, the joint director of the health department who is now in Murshidabad.

Chief medical officer Bijon Kumar Mondal said there were no funds for the micro-surgery. “We have not been receiving money for quite some time…We hold the surgery as and when we get it. Next time, when the funds come, we will intensify our efforts in Suti,” said Mondal.

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