JHAJJAR: The health authorities have decided to keep an eye on pregnant women in Jhajjar district, which has the worst sex ratio in the country at 774 girls per 1,000 boys in accordance with the 2011 census figures.
The district administration in an attempt to balance the highly skewed sex ratio has adopted a multi- pronged strategy to tackle the menace of sex determination tests which leads to female foeticide.
Jhajjar has become the first district in the country to install an active tracker - advanced technological equipment -- at all the 28 ultrasound machines registered in the district. Jhajjar DC Ajit Joshi told TOI while commissioning the tracker on Tuesday that these devices are foolproof and once fitted could not be detached from the ultrasound machines.
"In case someone tampers with the tracker, the SIM fitted in it will send an SMS to the civil surgeon and the DC on the mobile phones registered with it. The tracker will help in curbing the menace of female foeticide. All trackers would be linked to a website, merigudia.com, through a special server which would help keep a tab on ultrasound machines round-the-clock to ensure that they are not used for sex determination tests".
Jhajjar civil surgeon Dr Bharat Singh said after putting a check on ultrasound centres in the district with the help of the active tracker, the health department workers and anangwari workers have begun tracking even those pregnant women who had got abortions done outside the district.
"Any woman who already has one or two daughters and undergoes MTP obviously come under suspicion," he said.
Dr Singh said, pregnant women who might be interested in getting sex determination tests can be ''identified'' from data available with the birth and death registration department and through data regarding couples in the child bearing age with Anganwari and ASHA workers. "For this, mobile phones that are equipped with GPS would be provided to ASHA and Anganwari workers to ensure collection of data," he said.
The civil surgeon stated that they would procure information even about illegal medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) cases from neigbouring districts to see if these match with women under the scanner in the district.
However, Dr RK Yadav, head of radio diagnosis department at PGIMS, Rohtak, expressed his reservations about the utility of the tracker. "I don''t think it is a scientific and foolproof device to detect sex determination cases. The detection would be on the basis of mere presumption as it would be extremely difficult to determine on the basis of the report of this device whether the machine operator has performed sex determination test or if the pregnant woman was just undergoing a diagnosis."