After 19 foetuses were found in Sangli and a homeopath arrested over an illegal abortion racket, and another government doctor nabbed for conducting sex determination tests in Daund in Pune district, state health authorities have now sounded an alert. Tehsil-level teams comprising officers from the police, revenue and health departments will conduct inspections of nursing homes, as well as of centres that carry out medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) and sonography.
Dr Archana Patil, additional director of health, State Family Welfare Bureau, told The Indian Express that in the wake of the horrific incidents, these were some of the “preventive measures” being taken across the state.
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In Pune, District Civil Surgeon Dr R Shelke held a meeting with officials from the Pune Municipal Corporation, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, the Food and Drug Administration and other departments to stress the urgency with which they needed to act.
“The drive will be undertaken from March 15 to April 15 to inspect all the MTP centres, sonography centres and nursing homes,” said Shelke.
According to Advocate Megha Sonthale, district legal advisor (Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act), there are 372 MTP centres and 367 sonography centres (of which 274 are operational) in Pune district.
# Daund case: Doctor to face charges under PC-PNDT Act
A government doctor, who had been absent from service at the Ratnagiri civil hospital, was arrested on March 10 for allegedly carrying out sex determination of foetus. He was allegedly caught red-handed while performing ultrasound examinations of pregnant women at one Somnath Hole’s residence at Borachiwadi in Daund.
“While police have nabbed him under different sections of the IPC, we will now file a case under the PC-PNDT Act,” said District Civil Surgeon Dr R Shelke.
So far, 14 cases have been registered under the Act in Pune district, said Sonthale, adding that an awareness campaign will also be launched, under which local residents will be urged to send their complaints to the state website for saving the girl child — amchimulgi.gov.in — or call at the toll free number 1802334475.
# Dispose pending cases under PC-PNDT Act filed before 2013 by March 31: HC
The Bombay High Court has directed that cases filed under the PC-PNDT Act before 2013, and still pending at the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) courts, should be disposed by March 31 this year. In the Pune Municipal Corporation area, as many as 63 cases were filed under the PC-PNDT Act. Of these, 34 cases have been disposed of, and 17 of them have been in favour of the PMC. Vaishali Jadhav, Appropriate Authority (PC-PNDT Act) in the Pune Municipal Corporation, who was present at the meeting, said 29 cases are pending at JMFC courts.
There are 642 nursing homes, 324 MTP centres and 469 sonography centres in the city. As part of the special drive, committees will be set up to conduct an inspection of these centres .
# 10 cases filed in PCMC
Dr Pawan Salve, additional medical officer of health, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, said 10 cases were filed under the PC-PNDT Act, and two of them resulted in convictions. There are 407 hospitals, 236 sonography centres and 149 MTP centres in the industrial township and special committees will be set up to oversee their functioning.
# Sex ratios at birth show an upward trend
According to the birth registration department of the PMC, there has been an upward trend in the number of girls born per 1,000 boys. In 2015, there were 925 girls/1000 boys, while in 2016 there were 933 girls/1000 boys. Officials of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation said the trend was similar. In 2015-16, the sex ratio at birth in Pimpri Chinchwad was 921 girls/1000 boys, while in 2016-17 it was 931 girls/1000 boys. The sex ratio at birth, in 13 tehsils under the Pune Zilla Parishad, was 914 girls per 1000 boys in 2016.