NGOs Document Thousands Of Cases Of Indian Women Undergoing Unnecessary Hysterectomies, C-Sections

“Thousands [of women in India] are being given hysterectomies and caesareans that they do not need by doctors and hospitals that can make substantial sums of money out of the operations,” Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley reports in her “Global Health Blog.” The operations “leave women in pain, infirm, unable to work to earn a living and in horrendous debt,” she writes, highlighting several cases documented by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Oxfam and its Indian partners (2/7). “Reports from a handful of Indian states, including Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, suggest that an extraordinarily high number of women are having their uteruses removed, including many below the age of 40,” BBC News reports.

“Until recently, no data was kept on the number of hysterectomies performed, but anecdotal evidence suggests the operations have become much more prevalent in recent years,” the news agency writes, adding, “This follows the rapid expansion of small private clinics and hospitals, especially in remote rural areas that are poorly served by the government health system.” The BBC continues, “[I]n some states, critics say the [Indian government’s national health insurance scheme] appears to be encouraging unnecessary hysterectomies, as unethical private clinics exploit the vulnerable poor, using them as a means to tap into government funds” (McGivering, 2/5). “Oxfam is calling for the Indian government to make health care for all a priority — and is urging international donors to support them and back regulation of the private health care sector in developing countries,” the Guardian notes (2/7).