There are 945 girls for 1,000 boys in the zero to six age group

The District Reproductive and Child Health Officer M. Rukmini on Tuesday expressed concern over the abnormal drop in the sex ratio in the Dakshina Kannada in the age group of zero to six.

In her presentation on women and child health, Dr. Rukmini said as per the 2011 census there were 945 girls for every 1,000 boys in the age group of zero to six. “This is abnormal as the number of girls has to be higher than boys. The number of girls is getting reduced in the district,” she said. There were 951 girls for 1,000 boys as per the 2001 census for this population. However, the ratio for the general population in the district is 1,018 women for every 1,000 men as per the 2011 Census. Fewer females in the age group of zero to six indicates the possibility of the district going the Punjab and Haryana way.

Dr. Rukmini said reasons were not known for the gradual decrease in the number of females in the district where literacy rate was high. “We do not know whether this is for the one-child norm that is highly prevalent in the district. We are not sure whether there are laboratories still identifying the sex of the child in violation of PC and PNDT Act (Pre Conception and Pre Natala Diagnostic Techniques(Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act). A study has to be done,” she said.

Dr. Rukmini’s presentation was among the presentations made during a programme to create awareness about the National Rural Health Mission among the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat members. Only 15 of the 35 zilla panchayat members turned up for the programme.

Dr. Rukmini said there was a need to promote “no-scalpel vasectomy” in the district as fewer men were opting for it. There were about 44 cases in 2011 as against 35 in 2010. There were around five cases in 2008. Lack of numbers of the NSV, she said, had not in any way changed the situation with regard to family planning. The fertility rate in the district, which is the number of children born a couple, was 1.3 as against the required norm of 2.

District Malaria Officer Arun Kumar spoke about the vector-borne diseases while the District Disease Surveillance Officer B.V. Rajesh spoke about prevention of communicable diseases.

The District AIDS Prevention Officer Kishore Kumar spoke about HIV-AIDS prevention.

Free delivery in government hospitals for all groups

There will be no charges for childbirth in government hospitals. The government will bear the cost of looking after the mother and the infant under the Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojana, which is being implemented since September 2011.

District Reproductive and Child Health Officer M. Rukmini said the scheme applied to all women, regardless of their financial condition. Those in the above poverty line too were eligible. An exception has been made for Dakshina Kannada to apply the scheme also for women from Kerala. Under the scheme the government will bear the entire expenses of investigation and treatment charges. The treatment given for the child within the first 30 days will be free.

Dr. Rukmini said the scheme provides for free ambulance facility to pick up the pregnant women and later drop her back after the delivery. But the clause of dropping the woman has been removed as the State government was yet to decide on bearing this expense, she said.