The plight of rural women in India, who are often subject to unnecessary hysterectomies, is one of the most shocking and urgent issues facing society today. According to research by The Lancet, a medical journal, 17 out of every 1000 women in India have undergone a hysterectomy – a surgical removal of an entire uterus or part of it – compared to just two out of every 1000 women in the West. In Maharashtra’s “Sugar Belt” region, that figure rises to a staggering 350 out of 1000 women undergoing the procedure.
The vast majority of these procedures are performed on female workers who migrate into the area each year after monsoon season to harvest sugar cane for local barons. The long hours and hard labour often lead to intense physical pain which may leave these women with no choice but to undergo this extreme and permanent medical procedure just so they can keep working and providing for their families.
What makes this even more troubling is that many physicians are willing to perform the operation without properly informing patients about the risks or possible alternatives due to financial incentives from sugar barons. This leaves innocent women vulnerable not only to exploitation but also serious complications such as haemorrhaging, infection and long-term infertility.
It is time for us all to take action against this epidemic. Everyone should watch Unrested Uterus – a documentary by Vijayeta Kumar exposing this heinous practice – and join campaigns advocating for better healthcare access for rural Indians suffering from poverty-related illnesses. Together we can make sure that no woman ever has her health care put at risk due to economic necessity again!