08 April 2010
By Umesh Isalkar
Awareness, Sensitisation Programmes Needed To Improve Situation: Docs
“There has been a definite improvement in the last nine years,” said D D Chandakkar, deputy health officer of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). “However, it is nowhere near the improvement required,” he added.
The sex ratio at birth gets analysed on the basis of birth registration. “There is almost 100 per cent birth registration within PMC limits. Even if a mother delivers at home, she registers the birth with the PMC. This helps us figure out the sex ratio at birth every year,” said Chandakkar.
Infertility expert Anand Shinde, president of the Pune Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society (POGS) said, “It is deplorable to have such a low female child sex ratio. There has to be some kind of equality in the number of females born as compared to males. This shows that there has been little change in the mindset of people living in the city. There is need for sensitisation and concerted efforts to enhance female child births.”
“No social problem can be tackled merely by law, in this case the Pre–Conception and Pre–Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, alone. It is high time that we all, including doctors, the general public, and the authorities concerned start a concerted effort,” said Sharad Agarkhedkar, president of the city chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA).
He added that prevailing social customs like dowry and the excessively glorified notion of the male child’s role in many rituals as well as in cremation etc continues to have lot of bearing on society’s psyche. “That needs to be changed with awareness and sensitisation programmes,” said Agarkhedkar.
In 2001 Maharashtra’s child sex ratio was 917 females per 1,000 male children, lower than it was 10 years earlier (946: 1000) Gynaecologist Sanjay Gupte, president of Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society of India (FOGSI) agrees that much more needs to be done in Pune to improve the sex ratio.
“The Pre–Conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act needs to be changed for proper implementation. As per the present law, it is impossible to nab the culprit, unless a decoy case is planted which is extremely difficult for the appropriate authority like the civic body’s health officers. The clauses of the present law only result in harassment of good doctors on trivial issues like incomplete documentation etc,” said Gupte.
Meanwhile, 24 cases have been registered by the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) health department against medical practitioners, all located within the city limits, for not registering their sonography machines with the corporation as well as for not maintaining a record in the last nine years, as mandated under the provisions of the PCPNDT Act, 1994.