The death rate among children admitted to Kashmir's only paediatric hospital is on the rise, contrary to the claims made by the state government about improvement in health care facilities here.
In its report on infant mortality rate submitted before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, the Medical Superintendent has noted that the death rate among children admitted to G B Pant Hospital for three-month period from April to June this year has risen to 5.44 per cent compared to 3.5 per cent for the same period last year.
The number of deaths during the three-month period has remained constant at 269 for both the years but the increase in death rate has been due to reduction in the number of patients admitted to the hospital.
In fact, the death rate for a particular month at the hospital crossed six per cent in June this year for the first time since the hospital was established over eight years ago.
The increase in death rate comes as a surprise as both the state government and the Centre took several steps to improve the functioning of the hospital in the wake of public outcry over what was projected as high number of deaths among the patients in the hospital.
Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had announced free treatment of neonates admitted at the hospital from the first day of its life to completion of one month. Chief minister Omar Abdullah started monitoring the functioning of the hospital personally.
While only 5,000 patients were admitted to the hospital from April 1 to June 30 this year, more than 7,600 children were treated in the in-patient department in the corresponding period last year.