MP: Cases of negligence in SNCU rise, health dept starts review

  • Purvi Jain, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Jun 13, 2016 17:57 IST
Thirty-five newborn babies had a narrow escape when a fire broke out in the special newborn care unit of Morena government hospital on May 29. (HT file photo)

Rattled by the increasing numbers of crib deaths in Madhya Pradesh, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has decided extend the Child Death Review across all districts in Madhya Pradesh .

The NRHM move came in the wake of a number of cases of alleged negligence in childcare reported in government-run hospitals across the state in the last couple of months.

On Saturday, in less than 20 hours, fire broke out twice at the sick newborn care unit of the district hospital in Tikamgarh, where 40 newborn babies were admitted at the time of the incident.

This apart, more than five cases of negligence by doctors and healthcare workers have been reported in district hospitals across the state in the past two months. Madhya Pradesh reported the highest infant mortality rate (IMR) of 54 in 2013, which is higher than the national IMR of 40.

Child Death Review (CDR) is a strategy to understand the geographical variation in causes of child deaths and to initiate specific child health interventions and analyse infant mortality to provide information about the medical causes of death, help identify gaps in health service delivery and social factors that contribute to child deaths.

Earlier, the CDR was only conducted in Bhopal after former chief medical and health officer Pankaj Shukla initiated it. “Newborn survival has directly affected by the quality of healthcare services and to contain infant mortality, the review has been extended to all districts in the state,” said Rajashree Bajaj, deputy director, NRHM.

“Based on the calculations of infant mortality rate in Madhya Pradesh, we have found that more than 300 infants die every day in the state so we have decided to review the child deaths,” he said.

“Children in the age group 0-5 years will be included in the review, all deaths in this age group will be reported irrespective of the place it takes place: at home, in healthcare facilities or in transit, will have to be recorded and reported.”

According to sources in the NRHM, district health authorities have been directed to submit details of infant mortality every month.

A monthly review meeting will also be organised by the NRHM officials with pediatric experts to find out about diseases children are prone to, some of them said, adding that infant deaths can be prevented with better awareness.

The sick newborn care units that were started by the state health department in every district hospital in 2007, to treat newborn babies, have failed in containing infant mortality.


On June 11, 40 infants had a narrow escape after a fire broke out in the sick newborn care unit of Tikamgarh district hospital on Saturday afternoon. All the babies are reported to be safe.

On June 8, a new born girl died at the district hospital of Indore, allegedly due to the negligence of the doctors. The high court has sought report in the case by June 21.

On June 6, a pre-mature baby was declared dead soon after birth by the on-duty nurses at Damoh district hospital. The newborn baby girl “came to life” just before she was being buried. The girl is undergoing treatment at the SNCU ward, while an inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

On May 29, a fire broke out in the special newborn care unit of Morena government hospital. Thirty-five newborn babies were admitted in the ward when fire broke out due to short circuit in the air-conditioner. The babies were rescued by the hospital staff and parents by breaking the windows of the ward. Later the babies were shifted to Gwalior, where of them died during treatment.

On May 28, two infants were administered nitrous oxide instead of oxygen at Indore’s government-run Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital. Two of them died in the hospital while undergoing treatment

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