Ministry denies policy of notifying families of pregnant women

June 26, 2012, Tuesday/ 17:06:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The Health Ministry has denied claims it asks family doctors to send text messages to the families of women who take pregnancy tests at healthcare centers run by the ministry when they prove positive, the Haber Türk daily reported on Tuesday.

The ministry made this statement in response to claims that appeared in the same daily on Monday. According to an article in the daily by Ali Tezel, an expert on social security, a young woman who wished to remain anonymous had sent an email to Tezel saying her father had received a text message saying “Congratulations, your pregnancy test has proved positive. Visit your family doctor as soon as possible” three days after the woman took the pregnancy test. The woman was covered by her father’s social security, and since she had become pregnant out of wedlock, she was keeping it a secret. The young woman asked Tezel whether such a practice exists in the social security system.

Tezel said he did not know about the existence of such a practice but that after some research found that the Health Ministry had begun to keep lists of women who take pregnancy tests at its healthcare centers as well as which tests are positive and the contact information of these women. The ministry then sends these details to family doctors so they can get in touch with the woman and her family.

Contacting Tezel on Monday, an official from the Health Ministry told Tezel that the ministry has not given orders to family doctors to inform the families of women who test positive for pregnancy upon learning the test results, and the case Tezel mentioned in his column happened on the initiative of that family doctor.

The official said the Health Ministry has not issued a circular regarding the monitoring of pregnant women since 2008, when the monitoring system for pregnant women, newborn babies and the post-partum period (GEBLİZ) was launched.

Under the GEBLİZ system, healthcare providers record the identities and contact details of pregnant women in order to monitor their pregnancy, post-partum period and newborn babies. Paramedics go to the homes of pregnant women to provide healthcare services as part of GEBLİZ, which can cause problems for women who have become pregnant without being married.

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