Sex-selective abortions have been a long-standing issue in India. In one of the more notorious states, Maharashtra, the sex ratio is still around 833 girls for every 1,000 boys. To combat this issue in Hadapsar, Dr. Ganesh Rakh began a movement last year. His idea was to wave the delivery charges if a girl was born at Medicare Hospital, and give free treatment to the newborn girl until she is discharged, and he has been met with astounding support. Since the implementation of this practice, other doctors have decided to contribute what they could to this effort. Community leaders have pledged to save girl children and some doctors and hospitals decided to stop sex determination tests or sex-selective abortions.
Though not every doctor has the means to waive charges entirely, some have begun to charge only half the fee to the parents of girls. The village head in Ahmednagar’s Karawadi promised to report cases of sex-selective abortion, in order to get a more accurate idea of the scale of the problem. In Solapur district, the Vanjarwadi village head announced they would award prize money to people who contributed to stopping sex-selective abortion. One village even passed a resolution to invest some money in a fixed deposit in the name of a newborn girl. By implementing some of these programs, Dr. Rakh and his supporters hope to change how girls are viewed: not as a financial burden, but as an asset.
Dr. Rakh said that he does not look at medicine as a moneymaking business. After a decade of successful practice, he does not even have the means to buy a four-wheeler. However, he says that he does not charge for the delivery of girls because his wants are few. He hopes his program will contribute something towards society, and change the mindset people now hold towards girls.
Dr. Rakh and Medicare Hospital Foundation are campaign partners of the Asian Girl Campaign.
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