At a time when West Bengal is in news for deaths of infants in government hospitals, Trinamool Congress leader and UPA’s minister of state (MoS) for health Sudip Bandopadhyay says the state is better than most others in child health.
Bandopadhyay’s arguments, however, came after the death of five babies at the state government’s apex children’s hospital in Kolkata in last 48 hours. “Bengal is far below the national average of infant mortality rate (IMR) of 47 (per 1000 child births). Bengal’s IMR is 31. Only three major states—Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra—have lower IMR, according to the statistics available till December 2011,” Bandopadhyay told HT.
He also smelled conspiracy theory behind the hype over the infant deaths: “Things are shown in such a manner as if the entire system has collapsed. But the state government has informed that in the coming months, the IMR will further improve,” he said.
Earlier, 10 children had died at a Behrampore hospital in the last two days and 49 more at a Malda hospital in nine days. In June 2011, 18 babies perished in the hospital in the two days followed by the death of 13 babies in three days in October 2011 at the Malda Medical College and Hospital.
Bandopadhyay, however, said: “I have spoken to top officials in the health ministry. Everyone told me that the infant deaths in Bengal are getting over-hyped as most other states are in worse situation.” He also said neo-natal mortality rate (death of children within 28 days of their birth) has come down from 38 in 2005 to 31 in December 2011. The Left has already claimed credit for this.