The civic body will soon have the power to monitor sonography reports and even conduct sting operations to catch doctors red-handed to crack down on sex determination tests.
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will have the authority to analyse and monitor such cases for which a seminar-cum-workshop was held at the civic body’s Usmanpura building with medical experts and AMC officials on Tuesday.
“Till now, collector or chief district health officer was authorised to monitor cases of sex determination. But, under the Act, AMC will be empowered to carry out sting operation as well as file court cases against such doctors. Deputy municipal commissioner and deputy health officers of all six zones will be the final authority,” said Bhavin Solanki, AMC’s in-charge medical officer of health.
Also, the civic body’s role would be to identify sonography machines at various clinics and maintain a record of the tests done, receive complaints, prove them on record through sting operation and file court cases while the state government would facilitate AMC.
Tuesday’s training session involved informing AMC doctors on how doctors use code words to inform patients about the sex of the child in the womb. “Pregnant women will be trained in dealing with such doctors. As catching such doctors red-handed is difficult, we will train women on how to be prepared with hidden cameras and video cameras,” stated Solanki.
Surprisingly, Ahmedabad stands first in the state with maximum clinics and maximum number of sex determination cases.
“We receive a huge amount of data on sonography reports from Ahmedabad city and rural. Of the 1,087 clinics in the district, 77 are of rural and monitoring these many clinics from district level is difficult. Empowering local bodies will help the state government monitor all the clinics effectively by more authorities,” said chief district health officer Shilpa Yadav.
An activist, who has closely worked on the issue of poor sex ratio in the state, said prima facie, the move is laudable. “This is because many state government officials have to work closely with doctors while implementing their schemes. They also want them to work with the system. This gives rise to the possibility that the officials would treat the erring doctors with kid gloves,” said the activist.
Of course, a lot depends on how AMC implements the act. “The act, per se, does not seem to have stopped people from killing their unborn daughters. Hence, I don’t see much difference even if the implementation is handed over to the civic bodies. For, not a single doctor has been convicted under the PNDT Act yet,” he pointed out.