Ghatkopar emerges as abortion capital of Mumbai


, TNN | Jun 10, 2012, 04.23AM IST

MUMBAI: The central suburb of Ghatkopar has emerged as the abortion capital of Mumbai. Over the past five years, though the number of abortions in the city has been on a decline, Ghatkopar has topped the chart as the area where the maximum medical termination of pregnancies was conducted.

In 2011, there were 2,110 abortions done in N ward that falls in Ghatkopar area, with K ward in Andheri (E) following it with 1,784 abortions. Other areas like Kurla with 1,328 abortions, Elphinstone (1,284) and Dadar/Plaza area (1,246) have been identified as high abortion wards, according to data provided by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in response to an RTI filed by activist Chetan Kothari.

Kothari said though he had asked for the reasons for abortions, the BMC in its reply stated that it was unavailable. BMC executive health officer Dr Anil Bandiwadekar said it was difficult to interpret the numbers. “A couple may have suffered from contraceptive failure, or may have an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Moreover, the woman may be unmarried, because of which she decides to undergo an abortion. Since all these abortions are legal, the statistics are in no way an indication of gender preferences in society,” he said.

But activists are not convinced. “The abortion numbers point to a need for access to safe contraceptive options for men and women,” said A L Sharda, director of Population First, an NGO that works for gender equality. “Many a time, even lack of money to raise a child also forces a couple to terminate the pregnancy. Moreover, the high court had passed an order giving the right to the family of a mentally retarded pregnant woman to abort her child,” said Kothari.

There are many other reasons like danger to mother’s health if she continues with the pregnancy or the foetus being diagnosed with conditions like Down’s Syndrome. “In such cases too, it is better for the mother to abort the child than give it a life full of suffering,” said a gynecologist from Sion Hospital.

The statistics show that most wards have abortions done in private hospitals but areas having major civic hospitals showed that termination was done in BMC hospitals. For instance, in F wards for example, where KEM and Sion Hospitals are situated, the number of abortions done by the BMC were 772 and 537, respectively—more than double the abortions done in private hospital.

“The areas which have the facility to conduct abortions will have more number of abortions. Abortions are a right of a woman and their numbers cannot be reasoned,” said Bandiwadekar.

Private hospitals preferred for abortions

But activists are not convinced. “The abortion numbers point to a need for access to safe contraceptive options for men and women,” said A L Sharda, director of Population First, an NGO that works for gender equality. “Many a time, even lack of money to raise a child also forces a couple to terminate the pregnancy. Moreover, the high court had passed an order giving the right to the family of a mentally retarded pregnant woman to abort her child,” said Kothari.

There are many other reasons like danger to mother’s health if she continues with the pregnancy or the foetus being diagnosed with conditions like Down’s Syndrome. “In such cases too, it is better for the mother to abort the child than give it a life full of suffering,” said a gynecologist from Sion Hospital.

The statistics show that most wards have abortions done in private hospitals but areas having major civic hospitals showed that termination was done in BMC hospitals. For instance, in F wards for example, where KEM and Sion Hospitals are situated, the number of abortions done by the BMC were 772 and 537, respectively—more than double the abortions done in private hospital.

“The areas which have the facility to conduct abortions will have more number of abortions. Abortions are a right of a woman and their numbers cannot be reasoned,” said Bandiwadekar

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BMC seals 4 USG machines in 2 days


Pratibha Masand | TNN

Mumbai: Following a check on medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) and sonography centres, BMC’s survey teams have sealed four ultrasound machines over the past two days.

They sealed the machines after they found two centres on Wednesday and two on Thursday flouting the
rules under the PCPNDT Act. “On Thursday, we sealed a USG machine in Kurla and another in Malad. In Kurla, the doctor was not
registered, while in  Malad, the machine  was not registered,” said
BMC’s executive health officer Dr Anil Bandiwadekar. “On Wednesday too, we sealed a machine in Dadar as no proper record was maintained. The same day, we found another USG machine in Andheri (E) that was not registered,” said Dr Asha Advani of BMC’s PCPNDT cell.
The civic crackdown started on Wednesday, when the BMC formed 24 teams; each team, comprising an assistant medical officer, a post-partum specialist, a gynaecologist or paediatrician and an NGO member, has been assigned to each ward. Bandiwadekar said the teams had been told they should not harass the centre officials unnecessarily. “They are supposed to check that the doctor concerned, the
machine and the centre      are registered and all the related papers are in place,” he said. “If the centres have minor faults, we will send them notices, asking them to plug the holes. We are      sealing only those machines where the centers are flouting major rules.”
The teams visited around 70 centres across the city on the first day of the campaign; there are 400 MTP and 1,339 sonography centres in Mumbai. Bandiwadekar said once all the data are collected from the centres in Mumbai district, they would be compiled and submitted to the state government.
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‘Act against illegal units’

Sandeep Ashar | TNN

Mumbai: Even as the state public health department sought legal opinion on the feasibility of banning all standalone sonography units in the state, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Thursday he did not favour a blanket ban.
Chavan said his government had no plan to “trouble” legal sonography centres. “Action will be taken only ag-ainst those where sex determinations and illegal abortions are conducted,” he said. The CM hinted that a strategy to tackle the menace could emerge following a meeting of public health department officials with representatives of the Indian Medical Association, Maharashtra Medical Council and representatives of various medical streams on Friday. The CM plans to discuss the matter with health ministry.
Chavan said the “Silent Observer” model was being considered. Under the model, USG devices of a district will be linked to main servers and radiologists will have to file details of tests. Chavan said, “A balance has to be struck bet-ween a patient’s privacy and the right to curb misuse.”

Active Tracker shows no significant improvement in sex-ratio at birth


Feb 2012 , Indian Express

Ten months after installing ‘Active Tracker’ devices at sonography centres across Kolhapur, the state research team, appointed to look into the efficacy of the device, said there has been no significant change in sex-ratio at birth in the area.

“We have compiled data since March 2011, when Active Trackers were installed in around 270 sonography centres in Kolhapur city as well as places under Kolhapur district.

Our report, submitted to the State Government last month, shows no difference in the sex-ratio at birth compared to the last two years,” Dr Prakash Doke, who headed the state-appointed research team, said.

Active Tracker, a modified version of Silent Observer, was installed at sonography centres in Kolhapur following an HC judgment in August, which made installation of the device mandatory at all sonography centres to curb female foeticide.

While Doke’s team has not made any recommendations regarding the device, a senior BMC official said the test period to check the device was too short to dismiss the device.

“A year is too little to expect a change. A scientific study like this should be monitored over a few years to come to a concrete conclusion,” the official said, adding that the mass installation of the device will be on hold for some time.

The Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) has said the state needs to come up with a better plan to curb sex selection

FASS  has maintained the position that technology cannot root out social problems and  after wasting so much money on the software, government better use it for implementation of PCPNDT ACT  

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