Ten newborns died within 24 hours in a Rajasthan hospital while another hospital reported seven infant deaths in nine days — raising questions about the quality of health services and neonatal care in the state.
The fresh deaths come within days of 16 newborns dying at Ajmer’s government-run Jawahar Lal Nehru hospital between May 15 and 25.
The 10 newborns reportedly died at Rabindra Nath Tagore Medical College’s Bal Chikitsalaya in Udaipur between Monday night and Tuesday midnight. But additional principal Dr Shalabh Sharma denied the report, blaming the deaths on a clerical error. “A nursing staff member erroneously entered 10 admissions in the death column and one death in the admissions column,” he said.
Principal secretary, medical education, Mukesh Sharma said he had sought a report from the hospital within 24 hours, adding, “The deaths cannot be hidden.”
In Dungarpur, principal medical officer Dr Gokul Prajapati said on Friday that seven children — three were newborns, three were a day old and one was 14 days old — had died at the Shri Haridev Joshi government district hospital between June 1 and 9. He said the children suffered from low birth weight, septicemia (blood infection) and other diseases. Some were already gravely ill when admitted while four were cases of intrauterine foetal deaths — when the child dies in the womb — as their mothers were very weak.
Seeking a report of the Dungarpur incident, health minister Rajendra Rathore directed all neonatal units of government health institutions to be alert to such cases and immediately refer them to advanced health units after providing the necessary treatment. Rathore also asked those who provide antenatal care — before birth — to remain vigilant.
Numbers at a glance
15 lakh deliveries in Rajasthan in 2015-16
70,500 infant deaths in the same period
47:1,000 infant mortality rate according to Sample Registration Survey 2013
83% deliveries were institutionalized (in hospitals).