Eye doc­tors get HC stay on min­istry or­der to regis­ter ul­tra­sound de­vices

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - METRO - Rhythma Kaul [email protected]

NEWDELHI: The All In­dia Oph­thal­mol­ogy So­ci­ety (AIOS) has man­aged to get a stay on the Union health min­istry’s or­der that sought reg­is­tra­tion of all ul­tra­sound equip­ment un­der the PreCon­cep­tion and Pre-natal Di­ag­nos­tic Tech­niques (PC&PNDT) Act, 1994.

The so­ci­ety that has about 21,000 eye spe­cial­ists across In­dia ap­proached the Delhi High Court in re­sponse to a June 11, 2018, or­der is­sued by the min­istry that di­rected reg­is­tra­tion of ma­chines used even for oph­thal­mol­ogy (eye), echocar­dio­g­ra­phy (heart), urol­ogy (kid­ney etc), among oth­ers un­der the said Act.

“In eye clin­ics the equip­ment has var­i­ous uses, in­clud­ing de­ter­min­ing the length of the eye­ball, or scan the back of the eye for con­di­tions such as opaque cornea. These scans, called A scan and B scan, how­ever, can­not be used for sex de­ter­mi­na­tion in nor­mal cir­cum­stances as these equip­ment nei­ther have the fre­quency nor the pen­e­tra­tion depth to pen­e­trate the skin,” says Delhi-based, Dr Mahipal Sachdev, vice pres­i­dent, AIOS.

The or­der was on the ba­sis of a Cen­tral Su­per­vi­sory Board (con­sti­tuted un­der PC&PNDT Act) meet­ing held on Jan­uary 24, 2018, that makes it manda­tory for all the fa­cil­i­ties en­gaged ei­ther “par­tially” or “ex­clu­sively” in coun­selling or con­duct­ing di­ag­nos­tic tests, pro­ce­dures etc with the po­ten­tial of sex se­lec­tion to be reg­is­tered with the gov­ern­ment.

“After the de­lib­er­a­tions, it was con­cluded that the di­ag­nos­tic ma­chines have pos­si­bil­ity of upgra­da­tion and there is a like­li­hood of at­tach­ing mul­ti­ple probes in the ul­tra­sound ma­chines, hence, could be mis­used to de­tect the sex of the foe­tus,” read the min­istry or­der.

The AIOS mem­bers, how­ever, feel that this reg­u­la­tion was un­nec­es­sary as there haven’t been com­plaints of mis­use of these ma­chines by eye-spe­cial­ists.

“Eye spe­cial­ists might end up sur­ren­der­ing their ma­chine as it isn’t fea­si­ble to main­tain the pa­per­work that’s go­ing to be bulky as the tech­nique is used also in cataract pro­ce­dures and nearly 6.5 mil­lion peo­ple un­dergo the pro­ce­dure an­nu­ally in In­dia,” said Jaipur-based Dr Mukesh Sharma, sec­re­tary, Ra­jasthan Oph­thal­mo­log­i­cal So­ci­ety.

“While we are all in sup­port of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Act, this par­tic­u­lar or­der doesn’t serve any pur­pose. It is likely to cause un­nec­es­sary harass­ment, so we want the gov­ern­ment to re-think about the or­der,” he said.

The Delhi High Court stayed the min­istry or­der on Jan­uary 9 and is­sued a no­tice to the Cen­tre to re­ply to the pe­ti­tion. The next date of hear­ing has been fixed for July 17, 2019.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.