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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Malda, January 20, 2012
The Malda Medical College (MMC) has hit the headlines yet again, and for the same reason. The hospital saw seven more children dying between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. In the past 48 hours alone, 15 babies have died. An expert team headed by Dr Tridib Banerjee, chairman of the taskforce monitoring childcare facilities in state-run hospitals, visited the hospital on Thursday.


"One baby died in the SNCU and the rest in the neonatal care unit. Dr Banerjee will submit his report to chief minister Mamata Banerjee," said Debasis Bhattacharya, principal, Malda Medical College.

The state has come under attack over the hospital referral system, as more than 100 children have died in the BC Roy Memorial Hospital for Children, Burdwan Medical College, Jangipur sub-divisional hospital and MMC since July 2011. Most of the infants had been referred to the big hospitals without being given proper medical attention at the district and sub-divisional hospitals.

"The government wants to set up sick newborn care units (SNCU) in district and sub-division hospitals. But it is not possible to build such infrastructure overnight," West Bengal director of medical education Susanta Banerjee told HT.

Angry parents alleged negligence and gheraoed the team on Thursday. Laila Bibi of Chanchol, whose 22-day-old baby died, said, "My son had a severe breathing problem. I told the nurses, but they didn't bother." A doctor of the hospital said the babies had suffered from critical ailments.