The Indian women pushed into hysterectomies (90% in one village)
The Indian women pushed into hysterectomies
Thousands of Indian women are having their wombs removed in operations that campaigners say are unnecessary and only performed to make money for unscrupulous private doctors.
Sunita is uncertain of her exact age but thinks she's about 25 years old. I met her in a small village in Rajasthan, north-west India, surrounded by chewing cattle and birdsong. She was covered in jewellery, from a nose-stud and rings to bangles which jangled when she gestured with her hand.
Her face hardens when she tells me about her operation.
"I went to the clinic because I had heavy bleeding during menstruation," she says.
"The doctor did an ultrasound and said I might develop cancer. He rushed me into having a hysterectomy that same day."
Sunita says she was reluctant to have the operation straightaway and wanted to discuss it with her husband first. She says the doctor said the operation was urgent and sent her for surgery just hours later.
Sunita: "When I went to the clinic the doctor got me admitted on the same day and did the operation that evening"
More than two years have passed since that day but Sunita says she still feels too weak to work or look after her children.
When other local women crowded round, I asked how many of them had undergone hysterectomies. More than half raised their hands at once. Village leaders said about 90% of the village women have had the operation, including many in their 20s and 30s.
The doctors generally charge around $200 for the operation, which often means the families have to sell cattle and other assets to raise the money.