Health ministry cracks down to save girl child
Kounteya Sinha, TNN | Jan 15, 2012, 05.53AM IST
NEW DELHI:Soon, radiologists can work in only two ultrasound facilities at the maximum, and that too within a single district.
In a landmark decision to save the girl child, the Union health ministry in the Central Supervisory Board (CSB) meeting of the Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994, chaired by health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad cleared the proposal.
The CSB also passed the recommendation that radiologists will have to clearly specify working hours in these two centers. "The notification will come out next week. The proposal was cleared at the CSB meeting on Saturday," a ministry official told TOI.
The ministry had found instances of a single doctor being registered in seven, nine or even 16 ultrasound clinics simultaneously and purportedly conducting ultrasound scans in all such clinics in a single day, "which in all likelihood suggests proxy use of ultrasound procedures and its misuse for sex selection".
According to agenda number six of the CSB meeting, it had become a trend that one radiologist/sonologist is registered as performing doctor with more than one ultrasound Centre.
The ministry has also clamped down on institutes involved in providing a crash course on using ultrasound machines for jobs in "sex-selection shops".
The CSB cleared a Medical Council of India proposal that all these institutes will first have to be accredited by the state government and made authorized training centers.
The curriculum will have to be standard and the training has to be for six months, including 300 hours of teaching.
MBBS doctors or anybody training to be sonologists to operate an ultrasound machine will have to undergo a comprehensive skill test that will be conducted by the state government before the candidate gets the certificate.
"At the end of the six-month course to be conducted by the state government, the doctor will have to undergo a competence-based certification test. This will prove whether the candidate has undertaken a comprehensive sonography course or has been trained just in sex selection," a ministry official who was part of the CSB meeting told TOI.
At present, besides a sonologist, imaging specialist and radiologist, anybody with a six-month training or one-year experience in sonography or image scanning can use an ultrasound machine.
This, the ministry says, has led to mushrooming of several bogus institutions to train people on how to use ultrasound machines for sex selection.
"We have also done away with the clause that allowed one-year experience in sonography as a qualification to use an ultrasound machine," the official said.
It had become a trend in which bogus certificates were being issued, saying the person has undergone a six-month or one-year training on using imaging techniques. "Many such fake institutes conduct 15-day courses that teach people how to do sex selection using ultrasound machines and hand them the certificate," the official added.