In order to further improve the sex ratio in the state, Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Balbir Singh on Wednesday directed the health officials to create a network of the ASHAs, Anganwari workers, Multi-Purpose Health Workers (M.P.H.W.), Community Health Officers etc so that they must keep track of a pregnant women in villages throughout her gestation period till delivery. The Health Minister was addressing a two-day capacity-building workshop on the PC-PNDT Act organized by the Health and Family Welfare department here at Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration (MGSIPA).
District Family Welfare Officers, District Attorneys and District PNDT coordinators from all the districts of Punjab participated in this workshop.Emphasising the need to keep special focus on couples— having two or three living daughters- vulnerable to this illegal act, he directed the health officials to keep track of a pregnant woman so that any unlawful termination of pregnancy could be in the notice of the health department and such abortion must be investigated thoroughly as Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann led Punjab Government has been striving hard to improve the skewed sex ratio.
Underlining the pivotal role being played by the women in sustenance of society, Dr Balbir Singh said, “Without women, human society cannot even exist. Women are a stronger sex as it is the only woman, who not only can successfully manage a family but can also excel in any career outside the walls of a home. We need to change our mindset towards women.”We will also reward such officials under whose jurisdiction the sex ratio will improve in future,” he said, while adding that their work in terms of helping in removing this blot of female foeticide from the face of Punjab will be their biggest contribution.
Dr Balbir Singh also stressed the need to initiate strict action against the ART or IVF centres in case they found indulged in using Pre-Conception techniques in sex selection, and instructed the state health officials to intensify activities on this front as well.Secretary Health-cum-MD NHM Dr Abhinav Trikha stated that nobody has the right to take away the rights of an unborn girl child. “Female foeticide is not merely a health issue but a social issue which needs to be tackled with a multi-sectoral approach,” he added.
Director Health Dr Adarshpal Kaur emphasized the need to make it a social movement by changing the mindset of the people through mass awareness. Director of Family Welfare Dr Hitinder Kaur assured the Health Minister to work towards a better sex ratio in Punjab.
Meanwhile, Consultant PNDT GoI, Ifat Hamid trained the participants in legal and operational aspects of the PC-PNDT Act with a detailed analysis of related case laws. Assistant Director-cum-State Nodal Officer PNDT Dr Vineet Nagpal and DFWO Patiala-cum-State Trainer Dr Sukhwinderjit Singh enlightened the participants on Standard Operating Guidelines and code of conduct for the Appropriate Authorities.
Notably, Civil Surgeons and PNDT teams of Districts of Ludhiana, Barnala, Sangrur, Patiala, Gurdaspur, Faridkot and the State PNDT team were felicitated by the Health Minister for their exemplary role in conducting decoy operations across Punjab as well as outside the state. Pertinently, the Punjab Health Department has conducted 13 raids in recent times resulting in the registration of FIRs in all these cases and accused persons have also been arrested.