Radiologists in Maharashtra on strike over PNDT Act

On Monday, radiologists across the state, including Mumbai, will join their Pune counterparts on an indefinite strike to protest "harsh implementation" of the Pre-Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC-PNDT) Act. The Act criminalises use of medical technology like ultrasound to find out the gender of an unborn baby.
No ultrasound scans will be available at roughly 2,000 clinics in the state. However, x-ray, CT, MRI, Cath Labs are exempt from the stir.
"No stand-alone clinic will offer ultrasonography scans from Monday,'' said Dr Jignesh Thakker of Maharashtra State Branch of the Indian Radiological & Imaging Association (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,'' he added.
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 Dr Jape had diagnosed a case of meningocele in a pregnant woman who subsequently underwent medical termination of pregnancy, but authorities felt it was a case of female foeticide.
State authorities have appealed to the doctors not to intensify their protest. "We appeal to the doctors to not strike work in the interest of the patients," said Sujata Saunik, principal secretary (health).

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