Govt aims to improve child sex ratio

 The Delhi  government has identified 13 institutions which are likely to be accredited to train ultrasonologists.

The process of identifying institutes with sound infrastructure is still going on.This is being seen as a move to restrict the entry of ultrasonologists without proper training in medical practice, and to clamp down on female foeticide.

The training aims to sensitise doctors with just an MBBS degree to the issue, and tackle the ‘commercial mindset', for improving the sex ratio.

Currently, doctors who have completed a six-month-long course  from an unrecognised institute or have a year’s experience as an assistant to an ultrasonologist can practice as ultrasonologists.

However, with recent amendments in the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PC&PNDT Act), 1994, effective from January 2014, this practice will not be allowed. 

Medical Council of India-recognised institutions which offer postgraduate  programmes in Obstetrics or Gynaecology and Radiology or institutions offering full-time residency Diplomate of National Board (DNB) programme in Obstetrics or Gynaecology and Radiology would be accredited as training centres.

The existing registered medical practitioners (RMPs) who practice ultrasound will have to undergo a competency-based exam for renewal of licences. The new system has to come into effect latest by the end of 2016.

“We expect that prospective parents to cooperate with the steps by the government and help in curbing the unscrupulous practice of determining the sex of the unborn child. Prospective parents should come forward and bring it to our notice if such wrongdoing is happening. This will help us regulate sex-selective abortions,” said  Dr D K Dewan, director of department of Health and Family Welfare.

Inspections in clinics would also be intensified at both the district-level and state-level. Frequent checks would also help monitor wholesale dealers selling unregistered ultrasound machines.

During 2013-2014, there were 448 inspections. While the registrations of 70 clinics were cancelled, 16 USG machines were sealed, data obtained from the directorate of Health and Family Welfare shows.

West district saw 26 registrations cancelled, followed by 11 in east district at 11. In a recent inspection in west district, a USG machine was recovered from the residence of a doctor who conducted selective sex abortions at home. An FIR was lodged and the licence cancelled. 

A senior programme coordinator of the department said NGOs have also been roped in for better implementation of the amended rules.

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