Device to curb female foeticide

Device to curb female foeticide
Zeeshan Shaikh, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 14, 2010
Alarmed at the diminishing sex ratio in the state, the government is planning to install a silent observer device in all the sonography units in the state to stop sex determination and female infanticide. Sex determination of a foetus is possible only with the help of sonography machine. The device

will be embedded in each machine and will collect data about every sonography that has occurred on the machine. The data can then be retrieved later. 

The device was first installed in Kolhapur, after district officials got alarmed at the skewed sex ratio in the state.

“We will install a silent observer device in all sonography centres across the state. We have already installed it in Kolhapur. The device will help stop the practice of sex determination in clinics and make them answerable,” Minister for Public Health and Family Welfare, Suresh Shetty said while replying to a question on female infanticide in the state.

There are 7,373 sonography centres in the state.

As per the Pre conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, it is mandatory for sonography centres to keep the details of each and every sonography that is conducted. A government official then looks at the record every three months.

As the records are kept in paper form and are the responsibility of lab owners themselves, there is scope for fudging facts.

The device will not only bring all sonography centres online, but it will also make possible the daily online reporting of sonography tests of all pregnant women across the state. The generated data can then be used to take legal action against the culprit doctors and parents and will help in stopping the malpractice of identifying the gender of the foetus.

The government is planning to set up flying squads on the lines of the income tax department. They will raid sonography units in areas in the state that have a skewed sex ratio. The sex ratio in Mumbai, according to the 2001 census, is 774 (females per 1,000 males) in the island city and 826 in the suburbs. In Greater Mumbai on the whole the ratio is 811 females per 1000 males. The state sex ratio is 922 females per 1000 males.


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