Thursday, March 8, 2007

Infanticide a frightening reality in MP

NDTV, Rubina Khan ShapooThursday, March 8, 2007 (Shivpuri):

In Madhya Pradesh a determined effort to cut down on female infanticide has thrown up some shocking details.The child sex ratio in the Chambal district has dropped drastically from 2001 and sex determination tests and infanticide remain a frightening reality.Its mandatory for clinics to inform visitors that sex determination is illegal but behind the walls the law is often broken.Two private practitioners in Shivpuri are on the run because a medical audit established that they practised sex selection and abortion of female fetuses.It followed a high court order to implement the PNDT act in 11 districts in Chambal division since they had the worst sex ratio in the state.Shocking statisticsThe administration first ordered a door-to-door survey of children between zero to six in December 2006. The statistics were shocking.

The child sex ratio had dipped sharply from 904 girls per 1000 boys in 2001 to 846 girls per 1000 boys in 2006. Under the PNDT Act all diagnostic centers must have detailed medical records of all pregnant women getting an ultrasound done.Nearly hundred health workers and a local NGO painstakingly examined 7148 forms collected from three private diagnostic centers.Though many forms had anomalies, only two cases clearly established that the mother had undergone a sex determination test during 13th - 15th week of pregnancy and then had an abortion.In both cases the link was clear between the two doctors. Dr Anita Verma had asked for the ultrasound, and Dr Bansal, a radiologist had performed them."We made both the doctors party to the crime and we filed an action against them under the PNDT act in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court," said Dinesh Kaushal, CMMHO, Appropriate Authority, PNDT Act.Medical records examined.

For the first time in India doctors are being held accountable on the basis of a very scientific census based on door-to-door survey and thorough examination of medical records."We wanted to send clear message that yes the act has enough powers, we feel it is a mile stone," said Manohar Agnani, the Collector.Meanwhile the lawyers of the absconding doctors refused to talk on camera. The session court has denied bail to the two doctors. Now the matter is in high court.This attempt to nab the guilty doctors based on medical audit is perhaps the first of its kind in India.It can easily be a model for others to follow in their battle against female foeticide. A much needed attempt to save the girl child.