Ultrasounds for Improving Maternal Healthcare, Curbing Foeticide

The Times of India reported last week about government efforts to curb the misuse of ultrasound machines.

Right now, the process of getting a license to use an ultrasound is quite tedious, and a lot of Ob/Gyns don’t go through with it. The government is looking at relaxing it for medical professionals.

The hope is that greater use of ultrasounds by Ob/Gyns will have two benefits:

1. It means that patients can get a greater level of care with one doctor, rather than having to visit multiple doctors or specialists. This is especially important in rural areas, where distance might make it nearly impossible to see multiple medical practitioners.
2. It could hopefully reduce the rate of female foeticide, as most ultrasound screening would be done by medical practitioners as opposed to merely licensed diagnostic centers, whose employees may be more likely to promote the illegal practice.

I just got back from doing field research in Tamil Nadu. We’ve got a team there right now doing research on how to promote the use of ultrasounds by Ob/Gyns.

We’re interested in understanding how more Ob/Gyns may be encouraged to provide ultrasound services as a part of the routine maternal healthcare services, thereby improving overall quality of services as well as discouraging misuse of the technology for purposes such as sex determination.

This proposed legislation provides a good hope of doing just that, and through our research, we hope to learn some things that could help promote the same goal.

Times of India – Govt plans steps to curb misuse of ultrasound machines

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