Dr. Kapila Jayaratne the President of the Perinatal Society of Sri Lanka (PSSL) said yesterday at a media briefing that updated laws on abortion which they
preferred to as “Termination of Pregnancy” had been drafted as a proposal by a group of legal experts and specialist doctors and forwarded to the Cabinet through the Attorney General’s Department, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Health.
Once passed as a bill in parliament, the new law would allow impregnated rape victims and women carrying pregnancies with abnormalities to choose termination of pregnancy as an option, said Dr. Jayaratne.
He said extensive research conducted with the aid of Institute Pasteur of France to determine the causes of children being born with shrunken heads locally would be released within a year, and that it would help detect possible Zika infections within the country.
Speaking of latest developments in the field of research on prenatal deaths, Dr. Jayaratne said that PSSL along with the Pathologists College of Sri Lanka, the Health Ministry and the Family Health Bureau had developed guidelines and provided necessary equipment for conducting effective postmortems to determine the exact causes of infant deaths.
Sri Lanka had reported the lowest maternity and infant mortality rates in the entire region, revealed Dr. Jayaratne, Ninety nine percent of the 331,073 reported pregnancies in 2016 had received antenatal care from specialised doctors in governmental and private sector and Medical Officers of Health, while 99.9% of the total live births within the country had occurred inside hospitals, he said
Prenatal Specialist Dr. U.D.P Ratnasiri explained that a 20% of prenatal deaths occurred due to birth defects in infants while genetic defects, infections like HIV and influenza and non infectious health problems in mothers also contributed to the infant deaths, he said.
The PSSL along with Mobitel (PVT) would be launching a new voice operated hotline ‘3636’ which could be utilized by Junior Consultants and medical officers of peripheral hospitals at critical medical situations regarding pregnant women and infants where medical expertise and facilities from outside specialists and hospitals were needed, Dr. Jayaratne said.