Punjab orders probe into female foeticide case

While the Punjab government is patting itself for improvement in sex ratio in the state, the health department Friday ordered an enquiry into an alleged incident of female foeticide in Tarn Taran district.

Health department officials said that the enquiry has been ordered into the incident as a woman, in her 14th week of pregnancy, developed complications trying to abort the female foetus.

Director health services and family welfare Ashok Nayyar said Rajwinder Kaur of Patti town in Tarn Taran district, 35 km from Amritsar, came to the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) at Jalandhar with complications from illegal medical termination of pregnancy (MTP).

Nayyar said that the woman visited another district along with her husband for scanning and sex detection. The couple learnt that the foetus was a female. An attempt was made to abort the foetus on March 18 by a village pharmacist which did not succeed.

She was taken to Trehan hospital in Patti, which is a recognized centre for MTP and a registered scanning centre the next day. The doctor here referred her to another scanning centre in Amritsar where it was revealed that her uterus had been injured due to the unsuccessful MTP.

Thereafter, a team constituted by civil surgeon Tarn Taran recorded statements of the pharmacist, Sarabjit Kaur, and the doctor at Trehan hospital after it was found that they had violated the MTP Act and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Testing (PNDT) Act.

On Tuesday, the district health authorities went to seal the Trehan Scanning Centre.

The health department team had to face a large number of people who gathered at the scanning centre and obstructed the officials from doing their duty.

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The matter was immediately brought to the notice of Punjab Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla, who immediately intervened and directed the district administration to book the defaulters.

The district officials and the additional deputy commissioner along with police went to the centre and freed the health officials and got the scanning centre sealed.

Nayyar said the woman was admitted to PIMS in a serious condition with a ruptured uterus and small foetus pushed into the abdomen due to usage of surgical instruments.

“An emergency operation had to be conducted and the dead female baby was brought out by doctors. The PIMS record showed that the uterus was torn and dead baby was lying at the back side of uterus,” he added.

Health officials in all districts have been asked to keep a close watch on the activities of health centres and clinics in their respective areas.

The sex ratio in Punjab has improved to 846 females per 1,000 males in the 2011 Census compared to a low of 798 females earlier.

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