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E Delhi hub for sex selection, reveals audit

Kounteya Sinha, TNN | Jun 3, 2011, 02.25am IST

NEW DELHI: Medical audit of ultrasound clinics in east Delhi has revealed shocking results.

Under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act, every radiologist is required to fill a Form F before conducting an ultrasound on a pregnant woman. However, the audit carried out by NGO Action India in east Delhi, on behalf of the Delhi government, showed that not even 10% of the forms were complete.

The form has 19 questions, including the reason for conducting the sonography, along with the details of the patient and the doctor.

Clinics, which carry out prenatal sex selection and selective abortion, leave most details incomplete, deliberately skipping sections mentioning doctor’s name, signature, patient’s address, age of fetus and pregnancy record.

Since March 2010, the district commissioner’s office received 7,000 Form Fs from around 132 clinics located in three east Delhi sub-districts — Preet Vihar, Vivek Vihar and Gandhi Nagar. Only about 50 forms were complete.

Action India’s Sulekha said, “Leaving even a single question unanswered in the form is a violation of the Act. In east Delhi, not even 50-60 form Fs were complete. Some didn’t have note from doctors, specifying reason for the ultrasound, and the rest didn’t mention address of patient.”

The Union health ministry has intensified pressure on states to get every ultrasound clinic to fill Form F. Last week, the ministry asked the states to carry out medical audit of all PNDT records.

“The Central Supervisory Board, constituted under the PNDT Act 1994, in its last meeting has recognized the importance of medical audit of records regarding all pre-conception or pregnancy-related procedures to curb the rampant misuse of medical technology for sex selection,” the letter says.

The ministry instructed that the district/sub-district appropriate authorities would have to ensure vigorous monitoring of all facilities, offering ultrasound diagnostic under the following norms. They have to identify facilities not maintaining or submitting records as per the provisions of Section 29 of the Act.

They would also have to analyze and scrutinize monthly reports submitted by such facilities by checking whether name of the referring doctor is mentioned and referral slip is preserved, whether clear medical ground has been documented and weeks of pregnancy and parity (no. of previous children with sex) mentioned, whether name, address and contact details of patient is documented, whether declarations are duly signed by pregnant women and doctor with date and consent.

District authorities have been told to check under-reporting of ultrasound procedures by checking inpatient registers. “Action taken report may accordingly be sent to ministry on a priority basis,” the letter said. An official added, “A careful examination of the form will tell us who is involved in sex determination.”

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