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Health Minister orders strict implementation of PCPNDT Act to improve sex ratio in Punjab
Dr. Balbir Singh calls for people's participation to end female foeticide
Chandigarh, March 25, 2023: With Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Punjab government taking serious note of the low sex ratio in some districts of the state, Health, and Family Welfare Minister Punjab Dr. Balbir Singh on Saturday instructed health authorities to take appropriate steps to improve sex ratio in the state and ordered strict compliance of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) act in the state.
Following directions of the Cabinet Minister, Director Health Services (Family Welfare) Dr. Ravinder Pal Kaur, who is also the designated Chairman of the State Appropriate Authority for implementation of the PC-PNDT act, constituted an inter-district team of health officials.
The team members were asked to carry out detailed inspections of all the ultrasound scan facilities in the Gurdaspur district, which is the worst-performing district in terms of sex ratio.
The ratio in the district stands at 887 compared to the overall state ratio of 926 as per the Civil Registration System (CRS) Report of 2021-2022.
Dr. Ravinder Pal Kaur said that strict instructions are in place for Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Health Workers to register a pregnancy within the first trimester, which greatly reduces the chance of any sex selection as the pregnant woman is tracked throughout her gestation period.
Underlining the positive outcomes of efforts by the Health Department, Dr. Balbir Singh said ten districts in Punjab now have a higher sex ratio than the state average of 926, with districts SBS Nagar and Rupnagar top the list with a ratio of 948 and 946 respectively.
"We will keep striving hard to improve the sex ratio across the state till the menace of female foeticide is completely eradicated from the state,” he said.
Divulging more details, the Health Minister said a total of 1861 ultrasound scan centers are registered in the state and Department has been carrying out frequent decoy operations (sting operations) to ensure that no ultrasound scan centers are violating the PC-PNDT act, besides, inspections are being carried out by the district appropriate authorities. If any scan center is found violating the provisions of the PC-PNDT act, Punjab Government will immediately cancel the registration of that scan center.
Meanwhile, IEC activities are being carried out by the Health Department from time to time to change the behavior and mindset of the people, so that they don't have any prejudice against the girl child.
Newborn girls in hospitals across Punjab are given gifts on the occasion of Lohri and Navratras to celebrate their birth. This year too a state-level Lohri function was organized in Patiala to celebrate the girl child. Seminars and awareness activities are also being conducted throughout the year.