Sterilisation deaths a great human tragedy: U.N. official

‘Choice, quality, accountability are prerequisites of family planning’

November 12, 2014 02:38 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:29 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Choice, quality and accountability are the preconditions for family planning, said Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Kate Gilmore on Tuesday, a day after it came to light that eight women died after sterilisation surgeries in Chhattisgarh.

Ms. Gilmore who is in India to attend a global conference on engaging men and boys in gender equality told The Hindu : “It is a tragedy that has occurred, of course the reports need to be validated and there needs to be an investigation carried out independently to understand what took place. If this is the case [botched surgery], it is a great human tragedy, a grave crime and a cause of sorrow.”

She said death on account of sterilisation conducted properly is extremely rare. “India has fantastic and elaborate instructions on what the [international] standards are; so if someone has died of sterilisation, something grave has happened.” On whether governments can enforce sterilisation as a means of contraception, Ms. Gilmore said: “As per international standards, what the UNFPA also upholds, a woman must have free prior and informed choices between at least three forms of modern contraception.”

She said women should get quality service for the choice she makes. “If it appears and the investigation validates it, that the women had sepsis or life-threatening haemorrhage then, it was not quality.”

(Click>hereto read the transcript of the interview)

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