Unusual increase in IVF cases among state’s tribals


Panaji: Noting an unusual rise in the number of cases of IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and mortality among the tribal community, the tribal welfare department has started a review of all tribal welfare schemes with a special focus on two after witnessing an alarming rise in applications related to schemes for funeral and medical treatment related to infertility.

The state government provides financial assistance to tribals to carry out IVF and conduct funerals.

A study being carried out by the Goa Institute of Public Administration and Rural Development (GIPARD) will investigate an extensive infertility problem among the tribal community and also try to find out the reasons for the rising number of death cases among the community.

The tribal welfare department provides a financial assistance of Rs 20,000 for conducting funeral of family member of a tribal under the ‘Antya Sanskar Sahay Yojna’. The department also provides financial assistance upto Rs 5 lakh to tribals under the ‘Matruta Yojna’ to enable them to undergo medical treatment for infertility through IVF, which is a form of assisted reproductive technology wherein special medical techniques are used to help a woman become pregnant. Under the scheme, the assistance is provided after proper scrutiny and interviewing of the beneficiary by a panel of doctors.

Addressing a press conference to announce the observation of birth anniversary of Birsa Munda, a tribal leader and freedom fighter, to be observed on November 15, chief executive officer of Goa Commission for SC/ST Sandhya Kamat, in the presence of chairperson of Goa Commission for SC/ST Prakash Velip, said that through the implementation of the tribal welfare schemes “we have also come to understand that there is a rise in mortality and infertility rates among the tribal community. Hence, a research will be conducted to determine the causes.”

“Besides education scheme, there has also been a rise in applications year-on-year to avail IVF and funeral schemes. In the year 2018, we had ten beneficiaries and since January this year till date, the number has increased to 77 under the ‘Matruta Yojna’, which is alarming and an area of concern for our department. Similarly, under the ‘Antya Sanskar Sahay Yojna’, the beneficiaries were 477 in 2016 and increased to 517 and 608 in 2017 and 2018, respectively,” Kamat said.

The department of tribal welfare has already started an impact assessment survey to test the effectiveness of all the 22 tribal schemes launched by it in the past eight years to see how the schemes have helped change lives of the tribal people. The survey will cover all the tribal populace areas including the remotest villages with the help of NGOs.