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Goa looks to Kolhapur scheme to improve sex ratio

Wednesday June 01, 2011 12:11:05 PM, Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, IANS

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Panaji: Worried over increasing number of female foeticides and low sex ratio, Goa is now looking to follow the Kolhapur initiative in which a software was installed in all clinics to monitor every sonography done.

"We are looking to implement the Silent Observer, a software that monitors the equipment installed at sonography clinics and sends reports back to a control centre," Rajnanda Desai, director of health services, told IANS.

Back in 2001, Kolhapur, a major agriculture-oriented district in Maharashtra, recorded a dismal sex ratio of 839 females per 1,000 males. The ratio in Panhala, a rural sub district of Kolhapur, was even shocking at 795:1000, as against the national average of 933:1000 in the same year.

Against this gloomy backdrop, the Kolhapur administration backed the Silent Observer software, developed and promoted by e-governance specialists Magnum Opus.

The software has been installed at the more than 200 sonography clinics throughout the district.

The software is attached to the ultra- sound machines through cables, which grab video images of every sonography conducted in the clinics and stores the data on an attached hard disk.

The contents are monitored by the district administration.

The initiative paid off, with the Kolhapur district's sex ratio improving marginally from 839 to 848.

This result is what appears to have charmed the health authorities in Goa.

The state's sex ratio of 961:1000 in 2001 has marginally increased to 968 in 2011, but, according to Desai, there is much scope for improvement and the Kolhapur model was the way ahead.

"Look at what they have done. We are looking to install the Silent Observer software in all the sonography clinics in Goa. They cost around Rs.40,000 each," Desai said.

"We want to improve the sex ratio further. This is one of the stated objectives of the Goa government," she added.

Concern for Goa's low sex ratio was also reflected in Chief Minister Digambar Kamat's budget speech this year.

Kamat announced a slew of measures to curb female foeticide.

Financial assistance has been announced to mothers on the delivery of a girl child, provided it is not a third child.

"Once a girl child is born, a fixed deposit to the tune of Rs.25,000 will be automatically opened in her name (the child's name)," Kamat said in his budget speech.

There were also new schemes giving girl children free school uniforms, text books and educational aid.

"A provision of Rs.5.50 crore has already been made in the state budget to improve the child sex ratio," Kamat said.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at





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