The hope to get free delivery services under the government health programme cost a baby’s life to Chugitti based unemployed Sanjiv Kumar. Kumar lost his son within three days of his birth reportedly after the civil hospital despite availability failed to provide ventilator.
The case is not alone as more than 163 children have died, since April 1, 2016, to January 31, 2017, before even celebrating their fifth birthday. All the said cases are taking place in government-run-health centres of the district, reveals a report of child death review committee (CDRC). As per health department, the leading reasons of death include diseases like diarrhoea, pneumonia. Also prematurity, neonatal infections, low birth weight are the other reasons for infant deaths .
All the pregnant women are registered with health department. The report also exposed the district health officials’ claims of achieving zero percent home deliveries.
In the same period, 83 deaths have occurred at homes only. Similarly, 19 infants died in transit and 82 in private health institutions of the district.
Among total 348 deaths in this span, 181 were females and 167 males, revealing that female children are more prone to preventable diseases. The fact that out of the total deaths, 239 deaths took place within 28 days of the birth highlights the grimness of the situation.
While 76 deaths took place from 29th day to one year and 33 deaths took place between the age of 1 to 5.
Last year (from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016), 462 children deaths took place. Since the death of his child, Kumar has been fighting for the justice alleging negligence on the party of doctors in the civil hospital. Kumar has also filed a complaint before district family and welfare officer.
- Ensure timely ante natal checkups,
- complete immunization,
- awareness about nutritious diet,
- regular medical tests
- examination by medical specialist.
- Ensure institutional deliveries.
- Regular follow-up of newborn and mothers
- Home visits
- Arrange immunization of newborn till 14 weeks
His complaint is now pending with the directorate health and family welfare in Chandigarh after he was tired of visiting local officials for the probe. Kumar told HT, “My wife delivered the first baby in Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) five years ago but this time my relatives suggested the civil hospital and I regret the decision.”
A senior official informed, “Each child death is notified and discussed by senior medical officers (SMOs) at their facility level while at district the process is being monitored by district immunization officer (DIO).” “Then, the deaths are discussed in district health society (DHS) meeting which is chaired by the deputy commissioner each month.”
He said that if all the health programmes under National Health Mission including proper nutrition, immunization, training of ANMs and ASHAs, awareness and funds are utilized in a true manner, the rate can be brought down to zero level.
Surinder Saini, a member of district health society (DHS) alleged, “It is a total failure on the part of district health department.” He also targeted the officials and told, “Lack of complete implementation and supervision of health programmes, catering for proper care of women before and after delivery, is the primary reason behind the deaths.”
He demanded a fair probe in the Kumar’s case. Civil surgeon Dr Maninder Minhas said, “There are many reasons for infant deaths including underweight babies, premature births and diarrhoea to name a few.” “We are much worried over the loss of lives and department is putting its best efforts to save them” claimed civil surgeon.