18 Jul 2012

India womb scam being investigated

1:34 pm on 18 July 2012

An inquiry is being held into reports that thousands of women in central India have had their wombs surgically removed under a health insurance scam.

Officials estimate that more than 2000 women in Chhattisgarh state underwent such surgeries in the last six months and more than 7000 since 2010.

Some of the surgeries may have been necessary, but the BBC reports the number seems unusually high.

The procedures were carried out under a national insurance scheme whereby private hospitals claim for treating patients who cannot afford expensive procedures.

Since 2007, hospitals and clinics are able to claim 30,000 rupees ($US545) per family.

There are even reports of women receiving hysterectomies after asking their doctors for treatment for back pain.

Nine medical practitioners and 34 medical centres are suspected of involvement. They have not yet commented.

''We are going to take some stringent steps,'' said Chhattisgarh Health Minister Amar Agarwal.