The public health department of Pune, Solapur and Satara in India is conducting special training for healthcare staff, Asha workers and medical officers to help catch doctors involved in conducting illegal gender tests and abortions. The training will cover the implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques and Medical Termination of Pregnancy Acts and will include decoy operations, surprise visits, monitoring and identifying suspicious centres and record-checking. The move comes after two separate incidents of illegal sex determination and abortion were discovered in the region in the past eight months.
Following the incident of illegal sex determination at Satara and illegal abortion of female foetuses at Jejuri, the public health department has decided to tighten the noose around diagnostic centres and catch doctors involved in conducting gender tests.
For this, the department has decided to conduct a special training for Asha workers, healthcare staff and Medical officers among others staff from Pune division (Pune, Solapur and Satara) by Medico legal experts. The training will be held on June 5, at the deputy director office in Pune.
In this training, the strategy for effective implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act and Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act will be discussed. Also, training for decoy operations, surprise visits, monitoring and identifying suspicious centres, and record checking will be conducted, said officials.
This comes after three persons, including a doctor were booked by Jejuri police on May 14 under various sections of PCPNDT Act and MTP Act after it came to light that an expecting mother allegedly underwent illegal sex determination and termination of pregnancy at Shriram Hospital in Nira Village of Purandar Tehsil. Later it was found the woman had undergone illegal sex determination at an ultrasound centre in Lonand village of Satara.
Dr Radhakishan Pawar, deputy director of health services, Pune region, said, “Two incidents have come to light in the last eight months. We have a huge workforce of at least 5,000 Asha workers who know expecting mothers. We will train them to identify the suspicious diagnostic centres and doctors involved in illegal sex determination. The Asha workers will keep a close watch on the expected mothers in their area.”
“We need to get to the crux of this nexus. The doctors and expecting mothers have a deal during such sex determination tests and thus no complains are made. Doctors walk away due to lack of evidence. The training will be provided by the Medico legal experts to make sure when the cases are filed we have enough proof that would stand the scrutiny of the court,” Pawar added.
Dr Nagnath Yempalay, district civil surgeon said, “Through various programmes, the government has implemented several schemes for ensuring the safety of the girl child but, attitudinal changes are essential to ensure the safety of an unborn female foetus. We will conduct special drives and decoy operations with an aim to increase transparency and tighten the noose around offending doctors.”
Earlier, in October last year a 33-year-old woman from Talegaon, Pune developed serious complications and was admitted at Sassoon General Hospital after a botched up termination of pregnancy. She had allegedly undergone sex determination at a private clinic in Satara. Subsequently, the medical termination of pregnancy was carried out in Mahad. Hindustan Times