For the first time, several doctors have opposed the official panel of Indian Medical Association (IMA) and have set up their own ones to contest elections on December 18 to the executive committee of the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), a quasi judicial body.
The committee has 18 posts out of which nine are filled by the state government , including that of Director of Health Service, Director of Medical Education and Research. Elections are then held for the remaining nine posts to the committee. Monday was the last date for withdrawal of nomination forms. As many as 87 candidates had filed their nomination forms and while several withdrew, there are now 49 doctors in the fray.
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In a first though, Pune-based orthopaedician Dr Nitin Bhagali has opposed the official panel of IMA and struck an alliance with Shiva Arogya Sena, the doctors outfit of Sena, Vaidkiya Vikas Manch(doctor’s outfit of BJP), Maharashtra Association of Gazetted Medical Officers (MAGMO) and Association of Medical Consultants to set up an alternative panel.
The Shiva Arogya Sena and Vaidkiya Vikas Manch have supported us and not fielded their candidates, Bhagali said. The panel includes Bhagali , former president of Pune Orthopaedic Society, Dr Jignesh Thakker , former president of Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) , Mumbai, Dr Sudhir Naik, gynaecologist , Dr Niranjan Agarwal,, Dr Avinash Yelikar, Dr Nilesh Nikam, Dr Abhay Kadam from Maharashtra Association of Gazetted Medical Officers (MAGMO), Dr Pinak Dande and Dr Sharad Ghadge.
“We oppose crosspathy- and insist that patients have a right to know what degree the doctor has followed ,” Bhagali said while pointing out in their manifesto that they would review the procedure of registration with the Maharashtra Medical Council, take action against quacks, insist on safety for medicos by strictly implementing the act related to violence against doctors and others. “We will also press for the removal of draconian clauses of the PC-PNDT Act,” Bhagali said adding that they are using social media to highlight their objectives.
District appropriate authorities told to abide by new guidelines to implement PC-PNDT Act
The Health ministry in association with the United Nations Population Fund has released a new set of guidelines — Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that lists dos and don’ts for appropriate authorities implementing the Pre-Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.
Officials have stated that there was a need for better communication and role clarity among appropriate authorities that implement the Act. These appropriate authorities are empowered with powers of the civil court to search, seize and seal ultrasound machines, equipment and records of those who violate the law.
The new SOP for district appropriate authorities now contain detailed guidelines for registration of machines, renewal or rejection, inspection of facilities, search, seizure and decoy operations and how to respond or file complaints. They also include tips on the need to maintain dignity, refrain from making demeaning comments and conduct their work in a just manner. The state has now sent these guidelines to 60 appropriate authorities, officials at the PNDT cell here said.
A few templates of seizure and seal panchnama, showcause notice for cancellation/suspension of registration of machines and different advisories have been listed for appropriate authorities. The SOP has listed that appropriate authorities make several errors while carrying out investigations at any facility and hence, has given point-wise information on how to conduct search and seizure operations.
The guidelines released by the Centre were based on the guidebook prepared by Maharashtra by Varsha Deshpande of Lek Ladki Abhiyaan and PNDT cell officials in the state Dr Asaram Khade and others.
Earlier, there were nation-wide protests from radiologists a few months ago about the high-handed manner in which the officials implemented the PC-PNDT act. The 92 -page booklet reiterates the need for the capacity building of officials to sensitively implement the Act while also stating that good practices needed to be followed by ultrasound and genetic counselling centres on how to get registered with the concerned authority and carry out ultrasound procedures by qualified persons only.