More than 600 infant deaths reported from Gujarat and Rajasthan since December 1
More than 600 infants died in childcare wards of government hospitals in Rajasthan and Gujarat since December 1, 2019, official records showed. High Infant deaths have been reported from three hospitals in Rajasthan and two in Gujarat.
This comes at the time, there is political brouhaha over infant deaths in Kota’s J K Lon hospital, where 101 infants have died since December 1.
In Jodhpur’s Umaid Hospital and MDM Hospital, 102 infants died in December, according to a joint report prepared by SN Medical College that runs both the hospitals. The data shows that 4,689 children were admitted to the two hospitals in December; of these, 3,002 were infants. During treatment, 146 children, including 102 infants, died.
SN Medical College principal SS Rathore said the child mortality rate at the two hospitals was 3%, which was not more than the international figure. The mortality rate for the whole year of 2019 was even less at 1.57%, claimed Rathore.
“All the deaths occurred in the neonatal and perinatal ICUs,” Rathore said.
In Bikaner, 124 newborns died in December in Mother and Child Care Hospital of Prince Bijay Singh Memorial (PBM) Hospital associated with the Sardar Patel Medical College (SPMC).
PBM Hospital data showed that a total of 25,876 children were admitted to the hospital in 2019 and 1,681 of them died during treatment. All 16,658 children who were admitted to the general wards recovered but 1,267 (16.1%) among 7810 in NICU and 414 (29.4%) out of 1408 in PICU could not survive.
Head of the paediatric care department, Dr. Ghanshyam Singh Sengar, said there were different reasons behind the deaths. He added that the hospital has to bear the load of patients from entire western Rajasthan.
In Gujarat’s Rajkot hospital, 141 children died last December.
“As per official records, 111 infants died at Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Hospital in Rajkot in December, 71 in November and 87 in October last year,” the hospital’s medical superintendent, Manish Mehta said.
He said the rise in infant deaths in December was mainly due to an increase in the number of referral patients with serious ailments. “More infants with low birth weight were also among the reasons for the rise in the number of deaths,” Mehta said.
At Ahmedabad civil hospital, 85 infant deaths were reported in December 2019, 74 in November and 94 in October.
“The death rate has come down to around 18%,” hospital superintendent G H Rathod said, without specifying the previous numbers.
The main reasons for such deaths were premature delivery, low birth weight, as well as infection and asphyxiation in infants referred to the hospital, he said.
Gujarat Health Minister Nitin Patel said the infant mortality rate is 30 per 1,000.
“Every year 12 lakh infants are born. Of these, 30 out of every 1,000 infants die due to malnutrition, premature delivery, or because the mothers are not able to reach the hospital in time,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, in Kota’s JK Lon Hospital, where 110 infants have died since December 1, 2019, a committee has been set up for auditing the deaths even as the central team of experts looked at deaths in peripheral hospitals. In another development, the state government posted five doctors at the Kota hospital, where the administration procured 28 nebulisers and five pulse oximeters.
“Windows without glasses have been covered with polycarbonate sheets immediately to prevent chilly winds in the wards,” Hospital superintendent, Dr. Suresh Chand Dulara said. The superintendent said the hospital was creating nine extra NICU beds by renovating a room.