A SEMINAR FOR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS ON DECLINING CHILD SEX RATIO
ADF India through Vanishing Girls Campaign organized Doctors for Daughters, a seminar for medical professionals on declining Child Sex Ratio on June 2, 2019, in Holiday Inn, Jaipur, Rajasthan. The seminar was in collaboration with Rajasthan State Medical Association and Shikshit Rojgar Kendra Prabandhak Samiti (SRKPS). It was attended by 32 doctors from Jaipur. Anushree Bernard, Vanishing Girls Campaign Coordinator, in her opening remarks, welcomed the gathering and introduced ADF India.
Rajan Chaudhary, during his session, shared his experience to reflect on the situation of sex-selective abortions in Rajasthan. Using the 'Nine Year Sex Ratio at Birth' data, he explained that in 2011 the Sex Ratio at Birth was 887 girls per 1000 boys in Rajasthan which increased to 948 girls in 2018. Presently, every district of Rajasthan has more than 900 girls per 1000 boys. He observed that the strict implementation of the PCPNDT (Prohibition of Sex-Selection) Act culminated in the increase in the Child Sex Ratio in Rajasthan. He added that spreading awareness especially among the youths was also essential in improving the ratio.
He reported that out of 148 decoy operations in Rajasthan, 20 cases were of people who pretended to be agents working for the doctors. He urged the doctors to come together and put an end to such malpractices and work towards Census 2021 for a better Child Sex Ratio in the State.
Dr. V K Jain, in his address, pointed out that doctors are usually blamed for sex-selective abortions when the real culprit is the mindset of the society. He said that people are willing to pay hefty amounts of money to illegally determine the sex of the fetus. He warned that the real challenge in ending sex-selective abortions is in addressing the lack of understanding of the value of girl child in the society.
He suggested that legal provisions against women and families who undergo sex-selective abortions should also be incorporated in the law. He also suggested that sonography machines be made compulsory for purposes of immediate diagnosis and that doctors be allowed to use it without a radiologist. He elaborated that the sonography machine is a revolutionary invention in medical science and that PCPNDT Act has only hindered its effective usage.
Understanding that some cultural practices prefer boy child, he suggested that PCPNDT cell should focus more on spreading awareness on the cause. He ended his session with a hope of restoration of a time when revealing the sex of the fetus is no longer a crime.
Dr. Ajay Choudhary appreciated the efforts of medical professionals and civil societies like SRKPS and ADF India in improving the Child Sex Ratio in Rajasthan. He recognized the importance of sonography machines in medical practices and also reminded of its disadvantages in practice. He strongly urged all doctors to work towards a time when revealing the sex of the fetus is no longer a crime. He said that only education can change mindsets. As a strategy to end sex-selection he recommended that education be made accessible to all. He also spoke about the 'Selfie with Daughter' campaign in Rajasthan that was instrumental in raising awareness.
He urged the Indian Medical Association members to become brand ambassadors and to take an initiative in collaboration with civil societies like ADF India and SRKPS for saving girl child. He impelled everyone to speak about female foeticide in all social gatherings as a matter of social concern and work towards improving the ratio. He ended his session with a
a reminder of the limitations of PCPNDT (Prohibition of Sex-Selection) Act and the increasing importance of raising awareness through such workshops and seminars.