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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Maharashtra takes serious view of decline in sex ratio at birth

According to the NFHS-5 findings the number of children born in the last five years in Maharashtra has seen a drop by 11 points according to the findings of the National Family Health Survey 2019-20.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Updated: December 21, 2020 3:02:10 pm
In total, an estimated 140 million children will be born in 2021 and their average life expectancy is expected to be 84 years, the UN agency said.In total, an estimated 140 million children will be born in 2021 and their average life expectancy is expected to be 84 years, the UN agency said. (Representational Image)

After the NFHS-5 showed a decline in sex ratio at birth,  the Maharashtra government has taken the findings very seriously and conducted a three day training of civil surgeons, corporation and district appropriate authorities from Dec 17-19 for strictly implementing the PC PNDT act. Advisory committee meetings have to be held before Jan 10 apart from initiating a drive to register genetic clinics and labs were among the key recommendations that were made during the training workshop.

According to the NFHS-5 findings the number of children born in the last five years in Maharashtra has seen a drop by 11 points according to the findings of the National Family Health Survey 2019-20. The sex ratio at birth stands at 913 girls/1000 boys as against 924 girls/1000 boys according to NFHS 2015-16. The state’ health department’s latest provisional data based on the civil registration system (CRS-which tracks births and deaths) for 2018 also shows there are 60 blocks in 11 districts in Maharashtra where the sex ratio at birth has declined to less than 900 girls/1000 boys.

Advisory committee meetings that could not be held due to the pandemic will now have to be held before Jan 10, it was recommended at the three day workshop organised by the state government along with UNFPA.

Vidush Chaturvedi, Director , PC-PNDT, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare presided over the workshop while Dr Archana Patil, Director , Health Services, was also present. There were at least 146 participants and among the recommendations included the need to initiate online registration of genetic counselling centres, genetic clinics and genetic laboratories from January 2021.

Organising continuing medical education sessions each month on issues related to gender biased sex selection and implementation of the PC-PNDT Act were also the recommendations. A decision was also taken to build capacities of the Director General of Prosecution to sensitize them about the issue.

Dr Digambar Kangule, state nodal officer for implementing the Act said that it was a capacity building workshop and was held online.Dr Archana Patil, State director of health said that there has been a dip in various pockets and efforts are being taken to address various concerns. The training also included demystifying the PC-PNDT act and focussing on the standard operating guidelines for appropriate authorities.

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