Radiologists across the state, including Mumbai, will join their Pune counterparts on an indefinite strike to protest “harsh implementation” of the rules of the Pre-Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC-PNDT) Act. The PCPNDT Act criminalises the use of medical technology like ultrasound to find out the gender of an unborn baby
The Maharashtra State Branch of the Indian Radiological & Imaging Association (MSBIRIA), however, is protesting the high-handedness of government officials overseeing the implementation of the PCPNDT Act. “No stand-alone clinic will offer ultrasonography scans from Monday,” said Dr Jignesh Thakker of MSBIRIA. These scans will however be available for patients going to public hospitals as well to in-patients of private hospitals.
“We are planning a protest meeting at Azad Maidan on Wednesday and will decide to intensify the stir thereafter,” added Dr Thakker.
The indefinite strike began in Pune on June 14, with radiologists in the rest of the state observing a token strike. The strike call was given after Pune appropriate authority (under the PCPNDT Act) Vaishali Jadhav sealed three ultrasound machines of radiologist Ashutosh Jape. MSBIRIA members say that Dr Jape had diagnosed a case of meningocele in a pregnant woman who subsequently underwent medical termination of pregnancy, but the authorities felt it was a case of female foeticide.
While MSBIRIA members will meet the Pune commissioner in this regard on Monday, state authorities have appealed to the doctors not to intensify their stir. “Action was initiated in the case under the PCPNDT Act and is sub judice. However, we appeal to the doctors to not strike work in the interest of the patients,” said Sujata Saunik, principal secretary (health).
“Any investigation that uses ultrasound machines will not be done even in emergency cases from Monday until we get a reasonable solution from the government over the issues we have put forward. How to get an emergency investigation done is the government’s responsibility,” said Dr Thakker.