Mumbai, Apr 22: NGOs and alert citizens here have been urged to come forward to help the government in putting a stop to sex determination tests that have resulted in a decline in the child sex ratio.
Lamenting that Mumbai has the lowest child sex ratio of 898 to 1000 boys in the 0-6 years of age, Maharashtra Health Minister, Dr Vimal Mundada said it was a shameful reality considering Mumbai being India's shining jewel in terms of economy and social development.
She said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been asked to conduct a survey of ultrasound-sonography clinics in the city and the medical practioners associated with it.
Dr Mundada said it was impossible for the government to keep a watch on every ultrasound-sonography centre because the interaction on sex-determination tests happens between the doctor and the concerned family.
''If alert and concerned citizens including the media identify such medical practioners through sting operations, it will be easier for the government to take action against culprits,''she said.
Dr Mundada said the government has to be very careful while taking action against ultrasound sonography clinics because they are not just meant for sex determination tests but the overall position of the foetus which is also neccessary.
Dr Mundada had convened a meeting of newly elected representatives in Panchayat samitis, Zilla Parishads, Municipal Councils and Corporations to discuss the prevailing situation regarding health of women.
Mumbai Mayor Dr Shubha Raul suggested that MMR vaccine be made available free of cost to pregnant women in the state. She said that her efforts had made the BMC make budgetary provisions for facilitating the MMR vaccine to pregnant women in civic hospitals.
Programme officer of UNFPA, Anuja Gulati, said in 1991, a large number of districts falling in central and southern Maharashtra stretching from Jalgaon to Kolhapur had a child sex ratio of less than 950 girls to 1000 boys.
In 2001, the ratio in the same districts declined sharply with less than 900 girls to 1000 boys. In the eastern districts of the state, stretching from Jalna to Nagpur, the sex ratio declined to below 950 girls for every 1000 boys.
Speaking about the prevailance of HIV/AIDS in the state, experts from National Aids Control Programme said Maharashtra is one of the six high prevalence states in the country. Proportion of HIV positive women is steadily increasing in the state and majority of women are infected despite not having high risk behaviour (husband to wife).