After the arrest of ‘healer’ Baskar, who put up advertisements online including for home delivery, the Health Department is planning to lodge a complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell of the police department to take action on persons posting unscientific methods online and to delete such posts.
At the anti-quackery committee meeting held earlier this week, health officials discussed the possibility of lodging a formal complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell seeking deletion of such posts on websites.
“We might lodge a complaint soon. Our legal section will examine if the Information Technology Act can be invoked to delete such posts including the ones on YouTube.
“We will be seeking action on those posting unscientific methods online and on those who forward/share such posts,” a public health official said.
The department has stepped up vigil after two couples in Tirupur and Theni resorted to childbirth at home. Soon after the incident at Theni in which Kannan assisted his wife to deliver a baby at their home, the police, following intervention by the Public Health department, arrested him.
“The arrest of Kannan and ‘Healer’ Baskar has had a telling effect.
“People have been spreading rumours on unscientific methods but we have not taken action till now thinking that nobody will listen to them. Now, we are tracking down such persons,” he added.
K. Kolandaswamy, Director of Public Health, said there should be focus on “cult groups”.
“When we say cult groups, we mean people who spread information for instance against immunisation and now against institutional deliveries. Now, we have decided that action will be taken on those who forward such messages,” he said.
The Directorate of Public Health has been stressing the need for pregnant women to register on Pregnancy and Infant Cohort Monitoring and Evaluation (PICME) software that would help in tracking them. The latest version — PICME 2.0 — was rolled out last year that enabled pregnant women to pre-register themselves online.
“Kannan’s wife was a registered mother but was found missing from her home when the village health nurse (VHN) visited for three days,” he said.
Now, the directorate has asked VHNs, women self-help groups, medical officers of Primary Health Centres and Integrated Child Development Scheme staff to strike a conversation whenever they spotted a pregnant woman, he said.
“If they spot a pregnant woman on the road during a field visit, we have asked them to talk to her informally and ask her for the place of residence, whether she was registered or approached a doctor,” he added.