Tamil Nadu sex ratio drops to 878 from 954 | Chennai News – Times of India


CHENNAI: The sex ratio at birth in Tamil Nadu has dropped to 878 in 2020-21 from 954 in 2016-17, according to the National Family Health Survey released by the International Institute of Population Sciences. State officials contest this figure, which is lower than the country’s average.
India’s average has risen to 929 from 919.
While public health experts raised concerns about possible increase in sex determination and selective abortions, senior state health officials said the survey drastically underestimates sex ratio as the sample size is relatively small. Scientists from the School of Public Health, SRM University, gathered information for the survey from 27,929 households, 25,650 women and 3,372 men in two phases – from January 6 to March 21, 2020, and from December 21, 2020, to March 31, 2021.
“This is too small a number to determine sex ratio at birth. The CRS (civil registration system), which is a more robust indicator, showed the sex ratio at birth at 942 in 2019,” said health secretary J Radhakrishnan.
The civil registration system is a unified process of continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal recording of events such as births, deaths and stillbirths, Radhakrishnan said.
Survey’s results are alarming, say experts
“In addition, the state’s own health information management system shows that the sex ratio is nearly 940 in Tamil Nadu,” he added. However, public health experts say the survey sounds an alarm. “We are comparing apples to apples in this survey. We are comparing the results of the fourth edition of the survey with the fifth edition. The sample size and methodology have remained the same,” said former public health director Dr K Kolandasamy. The previous edition of the survey gathered information from 26,033 households, 28,820 women, and 4,794 men.
Drastic fall in sex ratio does not occur naturally in a span of five years, he said. Without sex selection, there should be 100 girls for every 105 boys at birth, but in five years the ratio almost evens out and among adults there will be more women than men. “It is now important for the state to focus on fertility clinics where sex selection can happen even at pre-conception level. There are at least a dozen techniques used to help women conceive boys. At least 10% of women seek fertility treatment and they are mostly off government radar,” Kolandaisamy said.
In addition, several people – doctors and quacks — who are caught indulging in sex determination and selective abortions return to work without much hassle. “On several occasions we have caught the same people more than twice for the same crime,” said a senior official at the directorate of medical services.

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