The Telegraph
Thursday , July 24 , 2014
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Purge drive against sex test clinics

East Singhbhum has decided to sieve rogue ultrasound clinics through rapid monitoring.

The first such extensive exercise to ensure adherence to the PCPNDT Act (1994), which bans sex determination tests, will involve 156 clinics operational in and around Jamshedpur. The district health department has formed three teams, each comprising three members, mostly government doctors, for the purpose.

The move is significant in the wake of the skewed sex ratio in the steel city. According to the latest Census (2011), the ratio for children up to six years is 887 girls for every 1,000 boys. The figure shows a disturbing drop from 920 girls per 1,000 boys in the 2001 Census.

Not just Jamshedpur, Dhanbad and Bokaro too are among the worst in terms of child sex ratio in Jharkhand. While Jamshedpur and Dhanbad equally share the shame, Bokaro fares worse with 881 girls for every 1,000 boys

District health department sources said each of the three teams had been assigned different areas to carry out rapid monitoring of ultrasound clinics from Thursday. Violation of the PCPNDT Act will invite a jail sentence of three years and a fine of Rs 10,000. An unscrupulous clinic will also be liable to losing its registration.

The first, comprising Potka referral hospital’s medical officer Shahir Pal, Khasmahal Sadar Hospital gynaecologist Veena Singh and NGO representative Pankaj Srivastava, will scan clinics in Sakchi, Bistupur, Sonari, Kadma, Dhatkidih, Northern Town and Circuit House Area.

Another team, with Ghurabandha-Ghatshila additional primary health centre medical officer Arbind Kumar, advocate Rinky Tiwary and NGO member Dilip Jaiswal as its members, will cover Mango, Dimna and Pardih.

The third group, comprising Ghurabandha-Ghatshila additional primary health centre doctor Ranjit Kumar Panda, Khasmahal Sadar Hospital gynaecologist Bhubaneswar Sah and NGO worker Janaki Dubey, will train its lens on Sidhgora, Baridih, Bhalubasa, Birsanagar, Telco, Golmuri and Parsudih.

Civil surgeon Vibha Sharan conceded that the district monitoring committee had not been functioning properly for the last few months leaving room for unethical practices.

“Members of the committee have not been able to carry out inspection (of clinics) on a regular basis for reasons like shortage of manpower (doctors assigned on other duties) and dearth of transport (one vehicle). So, we have formed three special teams for this one purpose. They will report to my office by the end of every month,” she said.

PCPNDT Act nodal officer Abhijeet Panda said the teams would have to monitor different parameters at the clinics. “They will see if every visiting patient is being made to fill up Form F and whether the ultrasound machines are registered. The certificate must be put up at a clinic to ensure visibility. It must also be ensured that no gender signs like images of gods and goddesses are on display. Most importantly, a notice against sex determination tests must be put up prominently,” he added.

According to rules, every ultrasound clinic is expected to submit Form F by the fifth of every month. The form has personal details of a patient like residential address and telephone number, besides signature of both doctor and patient declaring that no sex determination test was done.

“If the rules are not complied with, the teams can seal the clinic immediately and the civil surgeon will lodge a case in CJM court based on the report. The registration of such a clinic will be scrapped,” warned Panda.