First Ante Natal Check-up is Key to End Female Foeticide: Balbir Sidhu

Chandigarh, June 29 (Ozi Indian Bureau):

With the efforts of the Health Department the sex ratio (at birth) of Punjab has considerably improved from 888 in 2016-17 to 919 in 2020-21. This is due to stringent implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act 1994 Act. State Supervisory Board consisting of 22 members is in place in Punjab and a meeting of the board Under the Chairmanship of Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu was held for the successful implementation of the Act.

Director Health Services (Family Welfare) Punjab Dr. Andesh Kang welcomed the members and apprised them regarding the salient features, achievements and barriers in the implementation of the Act. She addressed in the meeting that a total of 1738 Ultrasound Centres are registered in the state and Health Department regulates their working as per the Provisions of the Act to end female foeticide.

Chairing the meet Health Minister said that the Punjab Government is taking a number of steps to end female foeticide. The health department also carries out regular IEC activities from time to time to change peoples' mindset so that they do not have any prejudice against the girl child. Health Department is taking strict action like carrying out decoy operation (sting operation) for catching the violators under the PC-PNDT act and State Health Officials keep a vigilant eye on Scan Centres by checking them regularly via District Appropriate Authority (DAA). He also warned that registration of any scan centre can be cancelled if it is found violating the provisions of the Act. Stating about the importance of the first Ante Natal Checkup(ANC) he stressed on the need to carry out first ANC as soon as possible or within the first trimester so that any misdemeanour can be tracked by the ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) and consequently by the senior Health officials.

Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare Husan Lal took a serious note of low performing districts in terms of inspections by the District Appropriate Authorities. He emphasised the use of technology in regulation of ultrasound machines in the state, training and capacity building of the DAAs, hiring of a new detective agency and preparation of an SOP or Checklist for the smooth working of the inspecting authorities.

In the meeting, Director Women and Child Development Vipul Ujjwal, Joint Secretary Social Justice Department Raj Bahadur Singh, Director Health Services Punjab Dr. G.B. Singh, Director Health Services (Family Welfare), Dr. Andesh Kang, Deputy Director Dr. Veena, Senior Gynaecologist Dr. Vineet Nagpal, Principal Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Medical Sciences Dr. Bhaveet Bharti, Dr. Meena Hardeep Singh, Associate Professor GMC Patiala Dr. Simmi Oberoi, Radiologist GMC Faridkot Dr. Taranjit Kaur, Additional Legal Remembrance A.S. Virk, NGO member Dr. Ranjit Powar, Mass Media Officer Gurmeet Singh Rana and others were present.