Mobile units help foetus sex determiners dodge law

Mobile units help foetus sex determiners dodge law

Sex determination on wheels seems to be having an unbridled run in the State. Voluntary organisations have been demanding greater vigil on the mobile ultrasound scanning units. But the cry has fallen on deaf ears.

The mobile units were introduced for the benefit of the disabled and the injured. But they have become a tool for misuse in the hands of those wanting to know the sex of the foetus.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Dr Vasundhara Bhupathi, former member of the committee to curb sex determination, said that while on humanitarian grounds, mobile ultrasound scanning units cannot be banned completely, there is a huge possibility of “misuse.”

“In Puducherry, a complete ban has been ordered on sex determination. In Karnataka, so far there has been so such rule,” she said. In 2011, the then Union Minister for Health Ghulam Nabi Azad had proposed a ban on these units.
Bhupathi said the misuse was more prevalent in Mandya and Bagalkot districts. “These are also the districts with a low sex ratio,” she said.

Malpractice

A Bangalore-based radiologist said that even though chances of malpractice in public hospitals were minimal, it was not rare in the private sector.

“Ideally, details of each report, the purpose for which scanning is conducted and patient details ought to be recorded. Not many have been following it,” he said.

The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act mandates that each district must have an Advisory Committee in addition to the Appropriate Authority comprising people from NGOs, a women’s representative, a paediatrician and a gynaecologist. But, many districts do not have them.

Approval

The Bangalore Urban district health officer formed the committee over a year ago. But, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, which is supposed to give the approval, is yet to do so.  In the absence of the Advisory Committee, no inspections have been conducted at the scanning centres.

U T Khader, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, said that the earlier committee did not discharge its duties properly. “A fresh list comprising representatives of NGOs which have worked in the field is ready. It will be formed within a week,” he said.
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