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FOGSI Opposes Government proposal on allowing AYUSH Doctors to perform MTP

New Delhi: A body of Indian doctors has opposed government proposal that appears intended to allow practitioners of traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda and Homoeopathy to perform medical termination of pregnancies.

Members of the Federation of Obstetrician and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) today said the proposal to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 could expose pregnant women to avoidable risks during abortion.
Senior FOGSI members say the proposal, which the health ministry has placed on its website to attract expert and pubic opinion, seems to suggest the act would be amended to allow two things.
One, MTP up to 24 weeks instead of the 20th week of pregnancy. Two, MTP conducted by medical practitioners with government-recognised qualifications in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha or homoeopathy as well as nurses with qualifications in general nursing or auxiliary nurse midwifery.
“This doesn’t look good. On one hand they want to reduce maternal mortality and, on the other, they are proposing this?” said Sonia Malik, a New Delhi doctor who heads a FOGSI committee on infertility disorders.
Only doctors with MBBS degrees are now allowed to perform the procedure.
Malik said the move to extend the MTP cut-off from 20 to 24 weeks was medically justified. Certain foetal abnormalities can only be detected after 20 weeks, and the extra four weeks will allow parents to avoid the birth of children with such anomalies.
But, FOGSI members say, the proposal to allow practitioners qualified in traditional medicine to conduct abortions will defeat the purpose of the MTP Act. They plan to mobilise opinion and campaign against the plan.
“This act (MTP Act) is intended to provide safe abortions,” said Hitesh Bhatt, chief of FOGSI’s ethics committee.
“While it is okay to allow such practitioners to prescribe MTP through pills, it would be dangerous to allow them to (practise the) surgical method of termination of pregnancy.”
Most MTPs during the second trimester are tricky and need to be performed by skilled and experienced surgeons, Bhatt said.
Health ministry officials said the document was intended to draw responses from the medical community.
“The ministry is likely to take all views into consideration. This is still under debate and discussion; this is not necessarily the final document,” an official said.
The Centre has indicated it wants to expand the role of traditional medical practitioners in public health activities through a nationwide programme that seeks to promote the use of traditional medicine.

Source: The Telegraph

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