Government knew infants were dying, kept mum
895 Fatalities In 2011, 380 This Year And Counting
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA/GKNN
Srinagar, May 20: The Department of Medical Education, which governs the G B Pant Hospital here, seems to have apparently overlooked the issue of high infant mortality rate as nearly 900 babies died at the health-care facility, last year.
The negligence at bureaucratic and government levels is obvious from the fact that statistics from all the hospitals falling under Medical Education department are conveyed to the Principal Government Medical College, Commissioner-Secretary and the Minister concerned on quarterly basis, official sources said.
As per the data sent to Principal Government Medical College here, 895 deaths were reported last year. This year the number of deaths stands at 380 so far.
Official sources said this year there had been 68 infant deaths in the hospital in January, 66 in February, 105 in March, 85 in April and around 56 up to May 15 this year.
The average deaths per day at the hospital is almost same for 2011 and 2012 - 2.45 and 2.42, respectively.
Interestingly, the data also reveals that the number of deaths during corresponding months of the two years were similar. For example, 104 deaths took place at the hospital in March last year while the toll in the corresponding month this year was 105.
Similarly, 66 children died in January this year compared to 77 in the same month last year. While 93 deaths took place last April, the figure this year was 85 in the same month.
It was only after media highlighted the issue that the government swung into action and made some changes at administration level to improve the functioning of the hospital.
Senior doctors at the hospital, however, maintain that mere administrative changes cannot work wonders.
"We are short on staff here, short on life saving equipment and there is huge rush of patients. It is not humanly possible that every patient can be attended as well as ought to be," said a senior doctor on the condition of anonymity.
The senior doctor said sometimes babies are already dead when they are brought to the hospital and blame is put on the doctors of the hospital here.
Both Health and Medical Education Departments are headed by Congress ministers in Jammu and Kashmir Government.
Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad did not hesitate in criticizing them when he yesterday mentioned that the state government had failed to start construction of a 200-bed children hospital even after the land had been earmarked and project sanctioned by the Centre.
"During my tenure as Chief Minister, I had kept 50 kanals (2.5 hectares) of land for a hospital. I sanctioned funds for the hospital soon after taking over as health minister," Azad said.
He said it was the duty of the state government to construct the hospital as healthcare was a state subject.
When asked if the concerned minister should resign on moral grounds, JKPCC president Saifuddin Soz said efforts to improve healthcare facilities were initiated two months ago.
"Things have improved but on a slow pace. We will seek help from the Centre on this issue," Soz said while choosing not to respond to calls for resignation of the concerned minister.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 21 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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