Maharashtra – Govt, private hospitals told to display sex ratio at birth #Goodnews


, TNN | Jun 3, 2013,

PUNE: All government and private hospitals are now required to keep a display board of the sex ratio at birth, based on the number of deliveries of boys and girls taking place on their premises.The state government, in a letter issued on May 31, has directed civil surgeons and the civic health department to ensure that all hospitals falling in their respective jurisdictions follow the latest diktat in letter and spirit.

“A decision was taken in the state advisory board’s meeting held in Mumbai on May 3. The letter directing civil surgeons and civic medical officer of health (MoH) to ensure implementation in their jurisdictions was issued on May 31. All hospitals, government and private, will now have to display such a board,” a state health official said.

in which civil surgeons and civic health officials have been categorically asked to ensure that all hospitals in their administrative powers follow the latest rule in letter and spirit.

“Hospitals should be informed that they will have to calculate sex ratio at birth based on the deliveries taking place in their clinical establishment and display the same on the board,” the letter reads.

TOI has a copy of the letter that instructs all hospitals to follow the rule. “The officials entrusted to ensure the implementation need to furnish information about how many hospitals have put such a board along with photos of such display boards installed at the hospitals to the State Family Welfare Bureau periodically,” the letter states.

Child sex ratio is calculated as the number of girls per 1,000 boys in the 0-6 years’ age group. As per global trends, the normal child sex ratio should be above 950. When the ratio is calculated at birth – the number of girls born per 1,000 boys – it is called sex ratio at birth. The sex ratio at birth is a better indicator of pre-natal sex selection. The ideal sex ratio at birth is 951 girls per 1,000 boys.

“We will ensure that all hospitals follow the latest government directive. Our team of officials overseeing the effective implementation of the PCPNDT Act within the municipal limits of Pune city will implement the rule,” S T Pardeshi, medical officer of health (MoH), Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), said.

“There are three indicators for measuring the sex ratio – overall sex ratio, child sex ratio and sex ratio at birth. Sex ratio at birth is a sensitive indicator, independent of sex specific mortality and migration. The objective of the latest diktat is to assess the scenario of sex ratio at birth at different hospitals,” said another top state health official from State Health Systems Resource Centre (SHSRC), a technical and research wing of department of health and family welfare. The move will help find hospitals constantly showing low birth ratio of girls born per 1,000 boys and facilitate corrective measures.

Other directives under the PCPDNT Act for hospitals and doctors.

* Use of pre-natal (before delivery) diagnostic techniques are allowed only on medical grounds for detecting abnormalities and anomalies and not for sex determination Section 6 a,b,c

* No person conducting pre-natal diagnostic procedures shall communicate to the pregnant woman concerned or her relatives the sex of the foetus by words, signs or in any other manner Section 5

* All clinics conducting ultrasound must be registered and certificate displayed.-No of machines, qualification of person conducting sonography and period of registration Section 19(4)

* All clinics should display prominently ‘disclosure of sex of the foetus is prohibited under the law’ in English as well as in local language Rule 17 (1)

* All clinics should have available copy of Act Rule 17 (2)

* Doctors or clinics advertising sex determination test in any form are liable for punishment Section 22

* Every offence under this Act is cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable Section 27

* Implementing authority under the Act is Appropriate Authority Section 17

* Under the Act, appropriate authority has power to search, seize and seal clinics Section 30

* Act has made it mandatory to maintain records of every scan done Section 29 and Rule 9 Section 5 and Rule 10 (1A)

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Beed Doctor duo slapped with culpable homicide – Illegal abortion case


, TNN | Jun 19, 2012,

MUMBAI: A day after Beed doctors—Sudam Munde and his wife Saraswati—surrendered before the Parli police, the state government is contemplating hiring Ujjwal Nikamas the public prosecutor to argue the state’s case against the couple.The Parli magistrate court on Monday sent the doctor couple, accused of conducting illegal abortions, to police custody till June 30.

The police have booked the couple for culpable homicide under section 304 of the IPC. However, the health department has asked the police department to also add the charge of death due to negligence under section 304 (A) of the IPC against the couple.

On Monday, public health minister Suresh Shetty met principal secretary (law) Vijay Achaliya, health secretary Bhushan Gagrani and family welfare commissioner Vikas Gharge. The meeting was held to build a strong case against the couple. According to health department officials, hiring a top lawyer for the case was discussed at the meeting. “Ujjwal Nikam is one of the names being considered by the department. Also, appointing a senior lady police officer to conduct further investigations was discussed,” an official said.

Senior NCP leader and PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal too has demanded slapping of stringent sections against the Munde couple.

Spelling more trouble for the Mundes and those who helped them, the health ministry has decided to also ask the police to find out who sheltered the couple, who were on the run for the last one month. “Cops should take the driver, who brought the couple to the police station, into custody and find out where all the doctors visited over the last three weeks,” a senior Mantralaya official said. “The government has also decided to club all cases against Munde to prepare a stronger case,” the official added.

Maharashtra to put sex test clinics on ‘notice’


Maharashtra to put sex test clinics on ‘notice’

, TNN | Jun 16, 2012, 02.00AM IST

MUMBAI: The state government is trying out a new idea to check the declining child sex ratio in Maharashtra. The public health department has decided to plaster notices on erring radiology centres and clinics to inform citizens about the doctors being involved in sex determination tests.A decision to this effect was taken last week in Mantralaya while discussing measures that the state government needs to take to curbsex selection in Maharashtra. The meeting—chaired by public health minister Suresh Shetty—was attended by Vikas Kharge (commissioner, family welfare) and other officials of the health department.A senior health department official stated that plastering notices on clinics of the erring doctors will serve two purpose—one to embarrass the erring doctor for his/her involvement in sex determination tests and also to inform the government machinery (police and public health department officials) will get to know if any clinic is operating despite being served notice.”Modalities on the content of the notice have been worked out. The system to paste notices on clinics of erring doctors will soon be started in the state,” the official added.

Meanwhile, a senior public health department official has expressed displeasure with the home department for failing to trace the doctor-couple in Beed. “Dr Sudam Munde and his wife Dr Saraswati are absconding for more than three weeks. The police department has failed to trace the whereabouts of the Munde couple. If in a state like Maharashtra—known for having the best brains in the police force—the doctors can’t be traced, than it puts a serious question mark on the network and the ability of the police officials,” the official added.

However, home department officials have refuted the allegations. “A team of police officials has been formed to trace the culprits in the Beed case. A few members of this police team are in neighbouring states to locate the erring doctor couple,” a senior IPS official said. “We will solve the case soon,” he added.

The state government had ordered CID probe into the Beed incident, following death of a pregnant woman while undergoing an abortion on May 18. Dr Munde, who allegedly performed the operation, is at large since the incident.

Team to curb illegal centres in Vasai-Virar

MUMBAI: The Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) has formed a team of nine doctors to check illegal sex determination tests in the region. Apart from inspecting sonography centres and maternity homes, the team will seal unused sonography machines. In Navghar-Manikpur, the team of doctors recently sealed two unused sonography machines.

Recent raids conducted on unrecognised doctors revealed that many were running maternity homes. There are a total 86 approved sonography centres in Vasai-Virar. The health department of the VVMC has begun inspecting the Form F records done before conducting ultrasound tests on pregnant women at these centres.

Maternity homes and sonography centres have been directed to furnish adequate records of patients and details of tests done. Diagnostic centres and maternity wards have been directed to prominently display ‘no-sex determination’ boards. –Sandhya Nair

Over 350 private sonography clinics stop operation in Jaipur


 

Press Trust of India / Jaipur May 22,

 

Nearly 350 private sonography clinics in the district today stopped operation in protest against “arbitrary attitude” of Rajasthan health department while carrying out crackdown against female foeticide.

Clinics in Jaipur did not conduct tests on pregnant women today whereas sonography centres in other districts would join them tomorrow.

“It is not a strike nor agitation, but a painful decision we are bound to take due to arbitrary attitude of the government which in the name of violation of PCPNDT act is targeting innocent doctors,” Vijay Kapoor, secretary of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Society said in a press conference here today.

“In the last few months, the department has taken action against several innocent doctors in the name of violation of the act, Pre conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex selection) 1994,” he said.

Expressing support on the need to stop female foeticide, Kapoor said those found guilty should be suspended, however, the government should be impartial in its approach.

“We are also against sex determination and all the doctors are not involved in this illegal practice. Those who are not indulged in this are also being targeted by the department unnecessarily which is objectionable so we have no option but to stop functioning sonography machines,” he said.

Sanjay Arya, president of the society said private sonography centres in other districts will not conduct test from tomorrow for indefinite period.

“We are getting confirmation from private doctors in other districts and they will join us from tomorrow,” he said.

Doctors are being targeted even for a clerical mistake. It is not justified,” he said.

When contacted, an official of health department denied the charge saying that checking of sonography centres, wherever it took place, was impartial.

Health department to challenge acquittals for sex determination


Claiming that many offenders who have violated the anti-sex determination act are not convicted owing to lack of evidence or improper observance of legal procedures; the department is now planning to re-examine and challenge verdicts meted out in 45 cases

The shockingly skewed sex ratio in Maharashtra has made the state government jump to a more stringent implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act.

In an attempt to improve the poor conviction rate of cases related to violation of the act, the State Health department has now decided to file appeals in the many cases in which errant ultrasound centres in the state were acquitted or dismissed by the court earlier.

The Health Department has decided to take a second, closer look at 45-odd cases in which the courts had either acquitted or dismissed the sonography centres who allegedly violated the act. “We are studying each case in detail, and five cases are already fit for appeal. The department is very serious about the implementation of the act, and we are taking all possible measure to improve the sex ratio,” said Dr Uddhao Gawande, Deputy Director, state health department.

After the census figures were revealed last year, the government had asked authorities, including the BMC, to survey all ultrasound clinics and check whether the act was being implemented.

A few months back, the state had even requested the courts to examine cases regarding PC-PNDT violation on an urgent basis.

Advocate Varsha Deshpande, founder of Satara-based NGO Lek Laadki, said, “Besides filing appeals, it needs to be examined why the acquittals or dismissals took place. Who is to blame — the attitude of the judiciary or the prosecutor, or the authority that framed the complaint inadequately?”

Dr A L Sharda, Population First, NGO, said, “As per the act, as soon as the machine is seized, the appropriate authority has to file the case in the court, but that seldom happens. In fact most of the cases are disposed after extracting a fine, which is a violation of the law. The few cases that reach the court are also not filed properly. Lack of proper evidence is another factor.”

Since the inception of the PC-PNDT Act, a total of 154 criminal cases have been filed against
different sonography centres in the state.

New website for F-forms
The government has finally set up its own website ” http://www.pcpndtmumbai.org, onto which radiologists can upload the F form ” a mandatory document ” after conducting every obstetric ultrasound. Till a few days back, the forms were uploaded onto a private website. This move had raised the ire of radiologists. Taking note of their apprehensions, the civic body decided to shift the form filling interface to a http://www.pcpndtmumbai.org, a government website.

What is the PNDT Act?
The PNDT Act came into force in 1994, in order keep a check on the rampant incidence of female foeticide. The Act prohibits determination and disclosure of the sex of foetuses. It also prohibits any public notices advertising the pre-natal determination of sex, and sets down the quanta of punishment for its violation as three years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000. The PNDT Act had been amended keeping in mind the emerging technologies for selection of sex, before and after conception. These amendments came into effect from February 14, 2003, and the act in its present form is referred to as the PC-PNDT Act.

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