Device to check misuse of sonography machines under evaluation
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14 October 2010
Silent Observer To Detect If Doctors Use Machines To Find The Sex Of Foetus, Programme To Be Taken Across State After Trial In Kolhapur
Once the device silent observer is evaluated, the government will replicate the programme across the state. Silent observer is a device fitted on ultrasound machines to check when doctors misuse it to detect the sex of the foetus.
The device has been fitted on machines in Kolhapur district on an experimental basis and the state wants to check the utility of the machine before it can be replicated across the state, said Jayant Kumar Banthia, Principal Secretary, Public Health, Maharashtra, at a workshop on Thursday where high–risk states like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra and Gujarat discussed dwindling sex ratio.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will evaluate the functioning of the device which has been in use at Kolhapur for the last six months. The workshop on promoting gender sensitivity in social communication, opportunities and constraints was held at the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development and Administration (YASHADA). Once the device is fitted in the sonography machines, it can maintain a log of all preg nancy tests done in a year, Banthia said.
According to Dr P P Doke, executive director of the State Health Systems Resource Centre (SHSRC), the latest sex ratio at birth in Maharashtra till March this year was 869 girls per 1,000 boys. While some 90 cases against doctors who have violated the provisions of the Pre–Conception and Pre–Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC–PNDT) Act are pending in the state, over 400 are pending across the country.
Anuja Gulati, state programme officer of UNFPA (Maharashtra), said there was a need for intensive efforts to involve the judiciary. Maharashtra has made a start and involved several judges and public prosecutors to create awareness about the act and need to expedite cases pending in the court. Varsha Deshpande, central supervisory board member, Rajat Ray of UNFPA, were also present.