Private hospitals in Uttarakhand have failed to upload records on pregnant women and send monthly reports on ultrasound tests violating guidelines of the Pre Conception & Pre Natal Diagnostic Technique (PC&PNDT) Act, health officials said on Monday.
Inspections of ultrasound centres to check sex-determination tests have also gone slow, they said.
According to health department statistics, the Uttarakhand Health and Family Welfare Society offers the facility of online filling of Form F in which a pregnant woman mentions reasons for an ultrasound test, whether a routine check-up or for abortion.
According to the Act, filling of Form F should be communicated to chief medical officers every month. The records help in knowing the reasons behind abortions or female foeticide.
“Dehradun probably has the highest number of private practitioners. But despite alerting them on various occasions, they have failed to submit Form F. Online submission of forms too has got a lukewarm response,” Dehradun chief medical officer SP Agarwal told Hindustan Times.
Enacted in 1994, PC&PNDT Act was amended in 2003 and then in 2011. Its clause 3A prohibits sex-selection tests. It says, “No person, including a specialist or a team of specialists in the field of infertility, shall conduct or cause to be conducted or aid in conducting by himself or by any other person, sex selection on a woman or a man or on both or on any tissue, embryo, conceptus, fluid or gametes derived from either or both of them.”
Enacted to stop female foeticide and achieve equal sex ratio, the PC&PNDT Act empowers CMOs and special cells in each district to conduct raids on violators.
Since 2011 only 23 ultrasound centres have been sealed, registration of 35 centres cancelled and five other centres are still fighting court cases against sealing of machines, according to the state health department statistics.
The Annual Health Survey (AHS) 2012-13 says child sex ratio of Uttarakhand is 883 girls per 1000 boys (0-4 years). The lowest ratio is reported in Pithoragarh district (820 girls per 1000 boys).
“No doubt there is a lukewarm response in filling Form F. Districts too aren’t carrying out repeated checks on ultrasound centres. Every year, hardly 20-40 raids are conducted across the state to check whether the ultrasound centres are doing sex determination or not. More raids will be conducted in future,” said Dr Ajeet Gairola, deputy director of National Health Mission (NHM) and in-charge of PC&PNDT Act.