A doctor from Pune has embarked on a mission to save the girl child as part of which he not only waives the fees if a baby girl is born in his hospital, but also makes sure the little one gets a rousing welcome.
As part of his ‘Beti Bachao Janandolan’ initiative, Dr Ganesh Rakh, who runs a maternity-cum-multispeciality hospital in Hadapsar area here in Maharashtra, has been trying to create awareness against female foeticide and infanticide.
He claims to have delivered more than 2,400 girl children in the last 11 years without charging fees from their parents and relatives.
Talking to PTI, Dr Rakh said the small initiative that he started in 2012 at his Medicare Hospital has now spread across various states and in some African countries.
“Before 2012, in the initial years of the hospital, we came across different experiences here where in some cases if a girl was born, the family members would shy away from coming to see her. That picture struck me and gave me a fillip to do something to save the girl child and create awareness about gender equality,” said the doctor while holding a newborn girl in his arms.
If a boy was born, some families would happily come to the hospital and pay the bills, but if the child was a girl, there was an indifferent approach in some cases, he said.
“In order to support the cause, we decided to waive the entire medical fees if a girl was born and later christened the initiative as ‘Beti Bachao Janandolan’. In the last 11 years, we have delivered more than 2,400 girl children without charging any fees,” he said.
Dr Rakh said as per a government survey, there were more than six crore female foeticide cases in the last 10 years. This is a kind of “genocide”, he claimed.
The reason for female foeticide is people’s preference for a son. This is not limited to one region, state, or a country, but it is a global societal issue, he said.
“As per our survey, of late there has been a remarkable drop in cases of female infanticide and this is a positive takeaway,” Dr Rakh added.
Dr Shivdeep Undre, working at the same hospital, said as part of the mission, they are reaching out to various states in the country and conducting gender sensitisation programmes.
Waseem Pathan, who was last month blessed with twins- a girl and a boy, said he was overwhelmed by the way the hospital staff welcomed the birth of his children.
“On October 26, we were blessed with a boy and a girl. As per the hospital’s policy, the entire fees for the girl child’s medical expenses was waived,” he said.
Pathan said the hospital organised a small celebration at the time of the discharge of his wife and children.
“They decorated the lobby with flowers and balloons, cut a cake, raised slogans in support of the girl child and showered flower petals on my twins when we were leaving the hospital,” he said.
Dr Lalasaheb Gaikwad, who is also associated with the mission at the hospital, said the objective behind such a celebration at the time of a child’s discharge is to make the parents feel proud and make the birth of a baby girl a special event.