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Delhi: Surprise check busts centre that trained 400 people to operate ultrasound machines illegally

The centre, Institute of Ultrasound Training, offered courses in various ultrasound technologies, which can last from just three days to six months. The institute is not recognised by the Delhi government, government of India, Medical Council of India or the University Grants Commission.

delhi Updated: Dec 22, 2017 00:17 IST
Hindustan Times
sex determination tests,ultrasonography,centre busted
The radio-diagnosis centre in west Delhi’s Janakpuri area that was sealed on Thursday for illegally training 300 to 400 people on how to operate ultrasound machines without regulatory approval.(Rajeev Tyagi/ HT photo)

A radio-diagnosis centre in west Delhi’s Janakpuri area was sealed on Thursday after it was found to be illegally training 300 to 400 people on how to operate ultrasound machines without regulatory approval.

The centre, Institute of Ultrasound Training, offered courses in various ultrasound technologies, which can last from just three days to six months. The institute is not recognised by the Delhi government, government of India, Medical Council of India or the University Grants Commission.

These classes could also be taken online in virtual classrooms, says the institute’s website, which, however, does not mention charges for taking any of the courses. The institute was founded in 2000.

When a Delhi government Pre-Conception, Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) team, along with members of National Inspection and Monitoring Committee, conducted a surprise routine inspection at the centre on Thursday evening, they found nearly 30 students being trained around 11 ultrasound machine in a single room. The students were trained by JS Randhawa and Sonal Randhawa, proprietors of the centre.

“We have sealed all the ultrasound machines under the PCPNDT Act as the institute did not have proper records of Form F. The inspection team did not find any documentation of the students that could confirm what medical course they were doing and whether they were MBBS students who met the criteria to be trained in using ultrasound machines. For all we know, they were not even doctors,” said Satyajit Kumar, state programme officer, PCPNDT cell of Delhi.

All sonologists —or imaging specialist who possess any one of the medical qualifications recognized under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 or possesses a post-graduate qualification in ultrasonography or imaging techniques or radiology — are monitored under the PCPNDT Act.

Under the PCPNDT Act, diagnostic centres doing ultrasound must fill “Form F” that lists details of the pregnant woman undergoing ultrasounds, the medical reason for the ultrasound, a summary of the report, and the details of the treating doctor. This helps authorities to track whether the ultrasound was done for medical reasons or for sex-selective abortions.

Sonal Randhawa, one of the proprietors of the centre, said, “We are not giving any kind of certification to the people we train, so the institute does not need recognition. Any MBBS doctor can be trained to do an ultrasound by a fellow radiologist.”

Illegal ultrasound is one of the biggest contributing factors towards sex-selective abortion and declining child sex ratio in India, which fell from 927 girls for 1,000 boys in 2001, to 919 in 2011.

“Illegal sex selection has a tremendous impact on the sex ratio of the country. If something is not done immediately, especially in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where one in five girls of the country will be born, the sex ratio will become worse by 2021,” said Sabu George, an activist who has been working to prevent female foeticide for three decades.

Under the PCPNDT Act, a six-month training course for MBBS doctors at a government-recognised institute is essential, which is being. This rule has been challenged in the Supreme Court with demands that MBBS doctors who have experience working with trained medical practitioners be allowed to do ultrasounds without formal training.

First Published: Dec 22, 2017 00:17 IST