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Tubectomy halt after doc retires
- Siliguri hospital turns away women

Siliguri, Dec. 13: Several hundred women who wish to undergo free tubectomy surgery, a sterilisation procedure to help keep their families small, have not been able to do so in the Siliguri district hospital for the last three months in the absence of a doctor.

The surgery used to be done by T.K. Bagani, a gynaecologist who has retired three months ago. According to members of health welfare organisations, the hospital authorities have not taken any initiative to engage another gynaecologist.

“The tubal ligation procedure is important and the central government gives high emphasis to it in order to encourage small families. It is done free of cost in government hospitals,” said Somnath Chatterjee, secretary of the Siliguri branch of West Bengal Voluntary Blood Donors’ Forum.

“But this surgery has been stopped at the hospital because the doctor who performed it has retired. Patients are being sent away…. The hospital authorities are not engaging another gynaecologist even when there are five doctors in the department. Patients have to go to private clinics to get the procedure done and are charged between Rs 2000 and Rs 5000,” he said.

Hospital sources said more than 300 women get tubectomy done at the hospital every month. “As no doctor has been engaged by the hospital for the process, we have asked them (the women) to come after a few days,” a hospital official said.

“The problem regarding the tubal ligation procedure exists at the hospital. It is a small surgical procedure conducted on women and we will have to conduct a training of the doctors on the procedure first before resuming it. We are planning to organise a two-week training for the doctors,” said Sanjib Majumdar, the superintendent of Siliguri District Hospital.

The husband of a woman from Shaktigarh, on the outskirts of Siliguri, said he had visited the hospital twice.

“My wife wanted to undergo the surgical procedure and we had visited the hospital last month. The staff told us to come after a month. We came again yesterday but were told again to come next month. I cannot afford the rates charged in a private clinic,” the man said.