Women and Child Development Current Affairs
Health Secretary C K Mishra has inaugurated the ‘Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh’, a National Human Milk Bank and Lactation Counselling Centre at the Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) in New Delhi. This centre would be the largest public sector human milk bank and lactation counselling centre available in North India
“Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh” has been established in collaboration with the Norwegian government, Oslo University and Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI).
Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh will collect, pasteurize, test and safely store milk donated by lactating mothers and make it available for infants in need. With the establishment of this donor human milk bank, all newborns in and around Delhi will have access to life saving human milk irrespective of the circumstances of their birth.
The centre will protect, promote and support breastfeeding by providing lactation support to mothers with the help of dedicated lactation counsellors. In this regard, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also launched Mothers Absolute Affection (MAA) programme to create awareness regarding breastfeeding among mothers for enhancing the child’s immunity.
The facility will act as a dedicated centre to support breastfeeding and improve infant survival. The centre will act as teaching, training and demonstration site for other milk banks that will be established under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The Central government has set up an expert group to look into the new technologies being to determine the sex of the foetus, so that the same may be curbed through appropriate amendment to the PC & PNDT Act.
Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PC & PNDT Act)
The PC & PNDT Act outlaws the misuse of ultrasound machines to determine the sex of the foetus, and prohibits female foeticide. The expert panel will suggest amendments to this Act to cover the latest methods of sex determinations.
Central Supervisory Board (CSB)
The CSB is the highest body monitoring the implementation of the PC & PNDT Act. A meeting of the reconstituted CSB, headed by the Health Minister and co-chaired by the Minister for Women and Child Development was held recently. The formation of the expert group was decided at this meeting
Need for amendment to legislation
Even though the most common methods of sex determination have been outlawed, newer technologies have come into existence for the purpose of determination of the sex of the foetus. Some of these new methods are even non-invasive. Also, IVF/ART (In-Vitro Fertilization/Artificial Reproductive Technology) clinics, operating in a legal vacuum, allow their clients to choose the sex of their baby. The expert group has been constituted to suggest amendments to face this challenge and curb these new modes of sex determination.