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After furore over use of bicycle pumps, Odisha govt bans mass sterilization camps

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 3:

The Odisha government has issued a blanket ban on sterilization camps in the state after an administrative inquiry confirmed the report published in leading Odia daily Sambad that a bicycle pump was used during tubectomy surgeries on 56 women at a camp at Banarpal CHC in Angul district on November 28.

Banarpal 2 small

The state government, which has drawn flak from all quarters for the irregularities committed at the sterilization camp, announced the blanket ban on all sterilization camps after a high level meeting on Tuesday. After the incident drew national and international media attention, the  Centre and Odisha Human Rights Commission sought a report on the issue from the state government yesterday.

“The government has decided that henceforth no such camp will be organized for sterilization to ensure quality care. Only established healthcare centres with proper operation theatres can conduct the surgeries adhering to universal infection prevention practices only on Mondays between 9 am and 4 pm. Stringent action will taken against those found not following standard operation procedures,” said Health secretary Aarti Ahuja.

Ahuja also said under no cicrcumstances can a doctor perform more than 30 surgeries a day.

The Health secretary said she had written to the district collectors to ensure that post-operative bed facilities and privacy of the women are ensured during such surgeries.

“The government has formed a special squad at the level of director, family welfare, for random checks on such operations. I have asked the collectors to form district-level squads as well,” she said.

The Angul chief district medical officer (CDMO) Bidyadhar Sahoo has been issued with a show cause notice for use of bicycle pumps at the Banarpal camp in the district.

The state government has also removed the operating surgeon, Dr. Mahesh Chandra Rout, from the panel of doctors formed by the government to perform such surgeries.

“The doctor who operated on the women has been removed from the panel of surgeons eligible for tubectomy. The CDMO has been asked to explain the lapse within two days,” Ahuja said.

Rout had retired from government service two years ago and had been empanelled as a surgeon to perform operations on call basis.

Rout had told the media that he was not alone and surgeons often use bicycle pump in the rural camps where the facility of an operation theatre and other sophisticated equipment are not available. He had justified the use of bicycle pumps for pumping in air in the absence of carbon dioxide insufflators as an ‘affordable’ and ‘safe’ alternative.

But latest reports coming out of Angul confirm that a carbon dioxide insufflator had been supplied to the post-delivery care centre at the Angul district hospital in July this year. But it is yet to be put to use and is lying at the Khamar CHC without even the seal being opened. Curiously, it was received by Dr Rout himself, who was conducting a sterilization camp in the Khamar area at the time.