PMC's sonography centres list out of whack, says NGO

After its survey reveals 'negligence' and 'inefficiency' on part of civic body, NGO plans to send show-cause notice

If the claims of a city-based NGO are to be believed, then forget monitoring sonography centres or checking sex determination tests, officials at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) have not even bothered to keep track of the number of sonography centres in the city.

NGO survey findings: At the address mentioned in the PMC list for
Athavale Diagnostic Centre in Karve Nagar, a restaurant is operational

A survey conducted by the NGO, P M Shah Foundation, revealed that 111 sonography centres that were listed in the PMC's records were either closed down, didn't exist at listed address or did not even perform sonography for pregnant women. The survey that was taken two months ago was presented to civic body as well as state officials, but there was reportedly no response. Irked by this inaction, the NGO along with prominent health activist Varsha Deshpande is going to issue a show cause notice to the PMC authorities.

At the address mentioned in the PMC list for Decision Diagnostic Centre
on Pune-Satara Road, a gym is functional. Pics/  Krunal Gosavi

Centres missing
The survey revealed that from a total of 349 listed centres, 45 were shut down while 30 clinics did not exist at the listed address. At 24 clinics, the sonography machines were not in place and 12 centres did not perform sonography for pregnant women.

Advocate Chetan Gandhi, trustee and director of P M Shah Foundation, said, "The PMC's health department is supposed to visit clinics at regular intervals and conduct inspections. They have to ensure that provisions of the Pre Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT) and the laws that prohibit clinics from disclosing sex of unborn child, are followed," he added.

Gandhi questioned that if the PMC has been inspecting all the clinics, then how can 111 centres on their list not exist or even perform pregnancy sonography. Gandhi informed that the surveyors found that many clinics were shut 3-4 years ago, which meant that the PMC officials were not performing their duties since the past few years. The advocate said that, in a PMC registered centre in Karve Nagar, a restaurant had been functioning since past couple of years while the address listed for Decision Diagnostic Centre, was actually a gym on Pune-Satara Road.

Gandhi further mentioned that the survey results were presented to the local civic authority as well as the state family welfare bureau, but didn't get a response. "We even pointed out that more than 100 centres did not cooperate with us and requested the PMC to help us carrying out the survey, but the health officer refused. Even after presenting the survey results, no action has been taken and we are issuing a show cause notice to them," Gandhi said. He also said that if the PMC did not take action within 15 days, the NGO would file a case against the civic body.

The Other Side
Vaishali Jadhav, PMC's assistant health officer and in-charge of PCPNDT Cell said that the NGO's information was outdated. "We have an updated list of centres that have been shut down or stopped performing pregnancy sonography. Besides that the NGO has only communicated to us verbally, and not submitted a formal report despite repeated requests. So how can we verify the information?" she added.

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