The Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA) has decided to stop conducting cataract surgeries under the Union Government’s National Programme for the Control of Blindness in government hospitals, till the government ensures that the operation theatres in government hospitals in the State are equipped with the facilities stipulated by the Union government.

Government doctors in Health Service will conduct cataract surgeries only after the operation theatres in government hospitals are properly sterilised, fumigated, and an infection-free environment is assured, the secretary of KSMOA, E. P. Mohanan and the president, O. S. Syamsundar said in a statement here on Tuesday.

KGMOA is saddened by the unfortunate incidents that followed cataract surgeries in Kunnamkulam taluk hospital, which led to the loss of eyesight for some, due to infection.

However, the Association also expressed its protest at the manner in which the entire blame for the incident is being pinned on a single doctor.

The government doctors were forced to perform a certain number of cataract surgeries under the National Programme for the Control of Blindness every month, even though the Health department has not provided even one per cent of the facilities actually required in hospitals to perform as many surgeries. KGMOA claimed that doctors who did not perform the targeted number of cataract surgeries are pulled up during the district-level review meetings every month.

There are no exclusive theatres for conducting ophthalmic surgeries in government hospitals and cataract surgeries are also done in the same theatre where all kinds of surgeries are performed on a daily basis without fool-proof infection control measures.

It is an accepted fact that there is a minor chance of infection even in the most sophisticated of operation theatres and the government doctors are forced to conduct surgeries within severe limitations in their workplaces, KGMOA said.