PMC Initiates Special Drive to Curb Illegal Use of Sonography Machines

The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) health department has embarked on a rigorous inspection campaign to prevent the misuse of sonography machines for determining the sex of fetuses. This initiative, which commenced on June 5, will run until June 25, targeting a total of 803 authorized ultrasound centres for thorough inspection.

Initiation and Objectives of the Drive

Dr. Kalpana Baliwant, Acting Medical Officer of Health at PMC, emphasized the necessity of this special inspection drive. While routine checks are conducted every three months at government-approved ultrasound centres, this intensified effort was spurred by directives from the state government. The primary aim is to ensure strict adherence to the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act of 1994, which prohibits sex determination.

State Directives and Inspection Protocols

The initiative follows a circular issued by Dr. Nitin Ambedkar, Director of Health Services, Maharashtra, on June 1. The circular instructed all districts and municipal corporations to conduct special drives to ensure compliance with PC-PNDT Act norms. The inspection checklist includes verifying the presence of a portable ultrasound machine and a designated vehicle for transporting equipment between centres. Teams will also ensure that each centre prominently displays a board stating that sex determination is prohibited and illegal under the PC-PNDT Act.

Enforcement and Legal Actions

As of now, 30 cases have been filed against doctors under the PC-PNDT Act, highlighting the critical need for stringent enforcement. Recent arrests by Pune rural police underscore the importance of such measures. A doctor and an ‘agent’ were apprehended for allegedly conducting an illegal sex determination test in a Baramati village, further demonstrating the urgency of the drive.

Operational Measures and Training

To facilitate effective monitoring, instructions have been issued to establish inspection teams and audit ‘F’ forms, which document prenatal diagnostic procedures. With approximately 2,240 ultrasound machines in operation, special squads have been formed to devise comprehensive action plans for centre inspections.

Ensuring Compliance Without Harassment

The state has emphasized the importance of training inspection teams to verify forms, seal machines, and conduct inspections properly without causing undue harassment to the centres. This training aims to balance rigorous enforcement with respectful and lawful conduct during inspections.

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