‘We must let nurses, ayurvedic doctors to perform abortions’



By, TNN | Mar 18, 2013, 02.49 AM IST


MUMBAI: Why not allow nurses and ayurvedic doctors to perform abortions? This was the plea made to the National Commission for Women(NCW), which recently invited comments to the proposed amendments to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act & Rules.

Last month, the NCW had recommended an increase in the outer limit for abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks. NCW had said this would helpWomen whose fetuses are diagnosed with severe anomalies late into pregnancy.

NCW representative Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar heard public health experts representing NGOs and associations in this regard on Friday.

Dr Nozer Sheriar of FOGSI (Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India) told the NCW that it is important to expand the base of legal providers of abortions. Quoting figures from international NGO IPAS, he said that 6.4 million abortions are performed in India every year. “Half of them are performed at unsafe places that are unhygienic and have untrained providers,” he said. Not surprisingly, around 8% women undergoing abortion die.

Shireen Jejeebhoy of Delhi-based Population Council spoke about her research done across hospitals in Mumbai, Delhi and Patna to show that nurses were as skilled as physicians to perform manual vacuum aspiration (a method of abortion). “Even MBBS-pass doctors can be trained to perform abortions so that women don’t go to untrained people,” said the experts. Ayurvedic doctors can undergo specialization in gynecological services.

Taking note of the suggestion, Prabhavalkar said, “We all are in favour of helping women. But while widening the base, we have to ensure the rules of the PCPNDT Act are not affected.”





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