Other States

M.P. rescinds sterilisation target order for health workers

Madhya Pradesh Health Minister Tulsiram Silawat. Photo:mpinfo.org

Madhya Pradesh Health Minister Tulsiram Silawat. Photo:mpinfo.org  

State’s directive had warned of job loss if at least one man was not mobilised for sterilisation

The Madhya Pradesh government on Friday rescinded an order warning male multi-purpose health workers (MPHWs) of no pay and compulsory retirement if they failed to mobilise at least one man for sterilisation in 2019-2020. The government also removed the National Health Mission’s (NHM) State Director Chhavi Bhardwaj for issuing the controversial order.

“As soon as the order relating to setting targets for sterilisations and pay cuts by the National Health Mission came to Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s notice, the order was cancelled,” said Tulsiram Silawat, Health Minister, sharing the cancellation order issued by the interim Director J. Vijaykumar.

In the now rescinded order dated February 11, the NHM had asked district officials to identify workers having “zero work output” and apply the ‘no work, no pay principle’ unless they mobilised at least one “willing” man for sterilisation in the financial year ending in March. According to the National Family Health Survey - 4 (2015-2016), just 0.5% of men opted for the procedure in the State.

In case no progress was observed by February 20, proposals recommending retirement of the workers would be forwarded through district Collectors to the NHM office, which would take it forward with the State Health Directorate for action, the NHM’s then State Director had said in the order. The directive had further stated that the workers must ensure that at least 5 to 10 males sought sterilisation at camps in the districts.

The order had drawn the ire of former chief minister and BJP national vice president Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who wondered in a post on Twitter if there was an undeclared emergency in the State. “Is this emergency part-2 of the Congress? If there is a lack of effort by MPHWs, then the government may take action; however, the decision to cut pay and terminate service in case targets are not met is dictatorial,” he tweeted.

While 1.35 lakh women underwent sterilisation in eight months in the State until December, just 1,254 men opted for the birth control surgery, despite being offered a higher standard incentive, according to the NHM.

Ms. Bhardwaj had earlier told The Hindu, “Family planning in the non-tribal region of Chambal-Gwalior has been a challenge owing to the prevailing feudal order there. It is difficult to break deep-set biases there. As a result, the responsibility for family planning falls more on women.”

An NHM official, requesting anonymity, said unfounded anxieties among men about a perceived loss of virility and a decline in the capacity to undertake hard work post-sterilisation tended to discourage them from undergoing the procedure.

“Every year, various programmes are held to spread awareness on the benefits of sterilisation and encourage people to opt for it,” said Narendra Saluja, State Congress spokesman. “However, no targets have been set for workers to fulfil,” he added.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 12:27:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mp-rescinds-sterilisation-target-order-for-health-workers/article30882681.ece

Next Story