The death toll rose to over 12, three days after the sterilisation camp organised by the Chattisgarh state government in India, It was a case of mere medical negligence and violations of guidelines and procedures outlined for such operations. Of the 83 women who underwent laparoscopic tubectomies, over 50 were hospitalised with about 25 in a critical condition.
Amir Khan in his in his show explored the subject of ‘Male Chauvinism’ in India and on the phenomenon of ‘uncontrolled masochism’ that has plagued Indian society for a long time. This medical tragedy is also an outcome of a similar case of ‘masochism’,
Birth control is the need of the hour in India and there are many non-invasive methods available, but for sure they are costly, The poor cannot afford it and the governments cannot fund it. Hence the invasive procedures are needed.
During a vasectomy, doctors numbs a man’s scrotum with local anesthesia and make one small incision. A part of the male anatomy responsible for transporting sperm from the testes is then severed, and the ends are stitched. .
During a tubectomy, a woman’s fallopian tubes are either blocked or cut entirely. This prevents her eggs from reaching the uterus, where they have the potential to be fertilized. This procedure uses spinal anesthesia and requires two incisions to be made below the navel, and cut through many layers, which allows doctors to have direct access to a woman’s fallopian tubes.
Vasectomies are not considered to be major abdominal surgeries and also much less invasive than tubectomies. Recovery times for vasectomies are shorter and the risk of complications is greatly reduced. Women who have undergone tubectomies are at a higher risk of bladder problems in the future, while there is no known increase of risk in men who have undergone vasectomies.
Overall, in terms of both cost and safety, vasectomies are a much smarter choice than tubectomies. Unfortunately, there are far fewer men getting vasectomies than women getting tubectomies worldwide. This comes from the unfair assumption that women should play more of a role in the birth control process than men.
On assuming command of our regiment, a regiment I had never served before and equipped with the modern surveillance equipment I had never seen. To familiarise with the soldiers, we captured all the data of our soldiers and developed an automated system for various administrative and training purposes. On analysing the data I found that most soldiers were not in receipt of the special increment for promoting small family norms even though they had two grownup children.
Further analysis revealed that the troops were very reluctant to undergo vasectomy and they had many an unfounded fears stemming from the usual misinformation passed on by the three ‘JIs’ of the regiment – the Pundit JI (Religious Teacher). Master JI and the Babu Ji (Clerk).
On further interactions with the affected soldiers I realised that many feared that their physical performance would be drastically reduced and would not be in a position to perform well in various Physical Efficiency Tests a soldier has to qualify. Some feared that their sexual performances would be drastically affected and the most significant fear was about the reactions of those back home when they learn that the man has undergone ‘castration’ and not the wife.
We were not posted with a Regimental Medical Officer (Doctor) and we had Naik (Corporal) Madhu, the Nursing Assistant, Thus he became the Commanding Officer’s advisor on health, hygiene and sanitation. Madhu had two children and was not in receipt of the special increment for promoting small-family norms. I called Madhu for a discussion and he confided that he wanted to get the vasectomy done, but has been procrastinating it. It was concluded that Madhu will get his vasectomy done the next week.
Sainik Sammelan (Commanding Officer’s Monthly address to all troops of the regiment), I presumed was the best platform to educate our soldiers. I believed in a short 10 minute interaction as I always felt that it was mostly boring and many a time disgusting to listen to a hour long sermon. Many of the soldiers in my younger days too shared the same thought. (Many Commanding Officers will never agree with me). In the 10 minutes I addressed the soldiers, the last five minutes was spent on educating them on various aspects of hygiene, sanitation, children education, parenting, medical concerns, etc. Post retirement many of the soldiers confided that they looked forward to the latter half of my address as it was both educative and thought provoking.
The Sainik Sammelan after Madhu had his vasectomy, I had him giving out his testimony. He explained the entire procedure and the little pain he had. He also said that it did not affect his physical efficiency in that he had secured ‘Excellent’ in the Physical Efficiency Test conducted the previous day and the procedure has in no way affected his family life or his relationship with his wife. Madhu added that he was granted 14 days of Sick Leave after the vasectomy, but he came back to work the third day as he had got bored lying on the bed in his home.
Now I explained to all the soldiers the agony their wives will have to undergo for a prolonged period after a tubectomy. I further said that no one back home will ever know that you have undergone vasectomy unless you tell them so.
Within six months we had all the soldiers who qualified for the special increment undergo the vasectomy operation and many said that they would not have done so if the Commanding Officer had not educated them about it.