Health Minister Banna Gupta on Tuesday directed the deputy commissioners of all the 24 districts in Jharkhand to constitute teams and conduct surprise inspection of ultrasound clinics in their districts in a bid to check if all the clinics were adhering to the norms of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act.
“Every district should constitute a team and inspect all the ultrasound centres running under their jurisdiction. A state team should also be constituted to see if the teams in the districts are doing their job,” said Gupta, chairing a meeting of the PC-PNDT State Supervisory Board at the National Health Mission (NHM) premises in Namkum.
The Minister also said that the state will be willing to pass necessary legislations in the Assembly in a bid to ensure strict implementation of the laws governing ultrasound clinics across Jharkhand. “We can make laws stricter to ensure zero lapses,” he said.
The PC-PNDT Act was passed in 1984 to put a check on female foeticide by making identification of the gender of a baby before birth a legal offense.
The meeting on Tuesday was also attended by Additional Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Singh, NHM director Umashankar Singh and doctors from the radiology wing of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS). Three legislators — Deepika Pandey, Mamta Devi, Sita Soren — were also present in the meeting, a press communique from NHM stated.
Addressing the supervisory board, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Arun Kumar Singh directed the Deputy Commissioners in all the districts to take strict actions against such ultrasound clinics and diagnostic centres that are found flouting the norms of the PC-PNDT Act.
NHM director Umashankar Singh said that at least 836 ultrasound clinics will be inspected in the next two months in Jharkhand. “Teams constituted at the state level as well as district level will conduct these inspections,” he said.
Sources present in the meeting said that the inspection of ultrasound clinics will be started in all the districts within a week and the facilities found violating the law would be sealed until further notice. All the teams inspecting the ultrasound centres have to follow the set rule for evidence collection and documentation, he added.
Some of the stakeholders attending the meeting raised concern over the misuse of portable ultrasound machines and requested the government to ensure that such machines stay only within licensed diagnostic centres and clinics.