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Ultrasound centres under Government scanner

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, FEB. 4. Taking stock of a worrying decline in the sex ratio in the Capital, the Delhi Government has ordered an audit of all centres using ultrasound machines by the Health and Family Welfare Department. The report is to be submitted by March.

The move comes immediately after members of various health and women's organisations met the Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, and submitted a memorandum by the Citizens' Group Against Pre-birth Elimination of Daughters (CAPED) asking January 29 to be observed as a "national day'' for monitoring the PNDT Act 2003 and requesting that action be taken to improve the condition of the girl child.

In response to this interaction, an emergency meeting was called and a group was constituted comprising members from all the departments concerned to facilitate dialogue between citizens' organisations and government officials.

Now according to the latest order, an audit will be initiated of various centres having ultrasound machines and also of those having a mobile facility.

The Chief Minister has also directed that evidence be collected against erring medical practitioners who are carrying out the "discrimination'' and that records and information regarding the implementation of the Act should be made accessible to the public as directed by the Supreme Court. Ms. Dikshit has also ordered that the Health and Family Welfare Department must ensure transparency in the matter. Meanwhile, a monitoring group is to be set up to do the auditing of all the records, while the citizens group has been asked to formulate concrete steps for action to deal with this emergency situation.

Previously a medical council was also constituted to regulate the malpractice within this profession but it failed to bring about the desired results.

"The situation is very bad in the Capital with the medical profession willing to provide the facility to kill unborn girls. It means that despite a strict law against sex discrimination and killing of girls, the practice is rampant in Delhi and elsewhere in the country with the medical profession being proactive in providing these illegal activities,'' said an activist.

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