Two more newborns died at the Baharampore sub-divisional hospital in Murshidabad district on Monday, taking the number of infants who have died in the district in a week to 27. Ten of them died over the weekend.
Hospital staff said Monday's deaths were normal, but preliminary inquiry identified diarrhoea, acute pneumonia, septicaemia and malnutrition as the causes of deaths reported at the Baharampur hospital on Sunday. “I haven't received information about 25 deaths in last one week. But in last 24 hours, 10 children have died,” director of health service Sanchita Bakshi said.
Baharampore district is 195 km from Kolkata towards north. Hospital sources said the infants, aged between a month and 3 years, succumbed to breathing problem arising out of pneumonia.
“It's unfortunate that so many babies have died. But we're doing our best to deal with the situation,” hospital superintendent Bhaskar Samanta said. Grief-stricken parents on Monday blocked the hospital entrance, but the police stepped in and brought the situation under control.
In most cases, it was found that the parents ignored early symptoms of cough and cold the infants had shown, Samanta said. “Once the festive season was over, they started consulting doctors at their health centres, but it was too late. The virus had spread, making it difficult to save the babies.”
The health ministry has cancelled leave of all medical staff.
Locals have complained of poor healthcare system in the district and some have even accused the doctors and nurses of negligence and blamed the deaths on them.
“…we've finally managed to deal with the situation and the number of cases is lower than in the past few days. We've turned two rooms into paediatric ward,” Samanta said.
Baharampore Member of Parliament Adhir Chowdhury visited the hospital and requested the parents to keep their calm, saying hospital authorities were trying their best to deal with the crisis. He plans to visit Beldanga, Lalbagh and Hariharpara, where cases of malnutrition have been reported.