Neta visits to Maggi test centre: Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College stays in the news | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Neta visits to Maggi test centre: Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College stays in the news

Thirty children died since Thursday in Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College as the oxygen supply was disrupted due to payment dispute.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2017 20:40 IST
HT Correspondent
Relatives mourn the death of a child at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur.
Relatives mourn the death of a child at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur.(AFP Photo)

Days before 30 children died in a Gorakhpur hospital within 48 hours, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister had reviewed arrangements at the largest medical facility in the city during his two-day visit. The officers did not tell him about the impending oxygen crisis due to non-payment of bills, which many claim caused the child deaths, the government said

Government officials have said the disruption of oxygen supply is not the reason for the deaths, encephalitis and other medical causes are.

But this isn’t the only time high number of deaths have been reported from the BRD Medical College hospital, named after freedom fighter Baba Raghav Das. From politics to funding, here’s a lowdown on Gorakhpur’s largest hospital:

1) Political battleground

2008: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited the college after 12 children died.

2011: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, the then Union health minister, visited BRD Medical College hospital to review facilities after the deaths of children admitted in the encephalitis ward.

2012: In October, then CM and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav announced compensation for the families of patients who had died at the hospital.

2015: JP Nadda, the Union health minister, visited the hospital to review arrangements for encephalitis patients.

2016: Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath attacked the then SP government in the state for neglecting the issue of child deaths in his constituency. “For 36 years, the death of children is being reported in Gorakhpur region. Around one lakh children have died, and majority of those who have survived are disabled. The state government has been insensitive to recurrent deaths even though central government has released much funds,” said Adityanath, who is now the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

2) Lab at BRD discovered high levels of MSG in Maggi

In 2014, it was a laboratory at the BRD Medical College campus that found high levels of flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) in Maggi noodles, The Indian Express reported. The lab’s findings led to a full-blown controversy a year later that saw the popular snack by Nestle India being banned briefly across the country after tests ordered by the food safety regulator.

3) History of negligence?

• More than 3,000 children have reportedly died at the government-run hospital since 2012, official data show. These deaths are among 50,000 children killed in eastern UP over the past three decades, most of them due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

• The Lucknow-based company which provided oxygen cylinders to the hospital had also cut its supply last year in April when its arrears had reached Rs 50 lakh.

4) Funding

In May, the college administration sent a proposal of Rs 37 crore for improving facilities, including ICU, ventilators and laboratory. The state government forwarded the proposal to the Centre for approval and the hospital is still awaiting the release of funds.

5) Gorakhpur’s largest hospital

• BRD has over 800 indoor beds, including a 100-bed encephalitis ward, and outpatient departments for various medical disciplines. More than 3.5 lakh patients avail OPD services every year at the hospital, according to its official website last updated in 2015.

• The website also says BRD is associated with various health programmes and “... the institute plays a vital role in control & treatment of and research on Japanese Encephalitis/ AES prevalent in this region).