Hyderabad: People still identifying baby’s gender

In Telangana, sex ratio has dipped to 910 females per 1,000 males.

Hyderabad: Discrimination against the girl child is rampant and the arrest of two doctors found to be carrying out sex determination tests has confirmed that the illegal practice is still being carried out in the state.

Dr V. Sarla, gynaecologist at Ushodhya Hospital in Attapur had the ultrasound machine, but no radiologists to carry out the imaging tests. The tests were carried out by Dr Ayesha Fathima, a graduate in Unani medicine. Both doctors were arrested by the Chaitanyapuri police on Thursday. The police have also asked people to report such illegal sex determination tests if it comes to their notice.

The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act prohibits revealing the sex of the foetus by this test. The female ratio in the country is in decline. In Telangana, it has dipped from 927 to 910 females per 1000 males, according to the Niti Ayog report.

Dr Sikandar Shaikh, secretary of the Telangana chapter of the Radiological and Imaging Association, explained: “This practice is strongly condemned by our association and the police must further investigate it. In 90 per cent of the cases, there is no radiologist but only technicians doing this work in most clinics. The use of imaging machines by non-radiologists is a cause of concern and we have time and again raised it with the government.”

There are 3,443 registered imaging machines in Telangana. But there are only 640 registered radiologists and 360 post-graduate radiology students. The IRDA has pointed out several times that non-qualified technicians who are doctors in alternative streams of medicine are misusing the machines.

This disparity has created loopholes and there are agents who are exploiting it. If the sex of the foetus is determined in this test and it is female, it is often aborted.

A senior radiologist, on condition of anonymity, said the hospital must have been involved in carrying out tests earlier too “hence the tip-off was given to the district medical and health officer. The time of the raid and that of the pregnant women being present coincides. People must be made aware that they must not ask for the sex of the child as it is wrong.” The test is used for determining several medical conditions in the foetus, which is legal, but it is misused as a means of determining sex.

The Ushodaya Hospital in Attapur has been in existence since 13 years and was registered with the Telangana Small Nursing Home and Hospitals Association in 2009.

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