September 25, 2020

Health department to crack down on SDT facilities

PATNA: Patna civil surgeon Dr Pramod Jha has said the district will be divided into zones and teams formed to inspect the ultrasound facilities in each zone soon. The exercise will be aimed at detecting misuse of these facilities for sex determination test (SDT) of foetus, which is an offence.

The move follows media reports on Wednesday about two women doctors allegedly conducting sex determination tests at their healthcare facilities at Kankerbagh and on the bypass road in the city for Rs 4,000 per test.

“There are altogether 341 registered ultrasound centres in the district. Our inspection teams will try to find out how many functional ultrasound centres were not registered under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act,” Dr Jha told this newspaper on Thursday and added strict action would be taken against the facilities indulging in illegal activities.

Dr Jha, at state health minister Mangal Pandey’s behest, has also constituted two teams which inspected the Kankerbagh and bypass road facilities soon after a TV news channel aired its sting operation details against them.

“The licence and related documents of the ultrasound facility at Kankerbagh were seized for further probe, while the inspection team has reported that the bypass road facility was a nursing home which did not have an ultrasound equipment,” Dr Jha told this reporter.

The Bihar chapter of Indian Medical Association has also constituted a three-member panel to probe the matter. “We will submit our probe report to the state health department within a fortnight,” IMA vice president Dr Harihar Dixit, who is also on the probe panel, said on Thursday.

After the sting operation went on air, Union minister of state for health and family welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Wednesday said strict action would be taken against the doctors found responsible of carrying out SDTs and selective abortions. He called it a despicable crime.

Former state health minister and RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav had demanded the resignation of his successor and current health minister Pandey. “The current health minister is sleeping and not doing work. He should resign,” Tej told reporters.

The PCPNDT Act has banned sex determination and preconception sex selection since 1994.

Courtesy: TNN

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