Jharkhand HC seeks government reply on deaths of children
Taking cognizance of large number of child deaths in three hospitals, court has sought reply from the Raghubar Das government.Updated: Sep 01, 2017 19:47 IST
Taking serious note of the burgeoning number of child deaths in government-owned medical colleges and hospitals, the Jharkhand high court on Friday observed that the state’s health scenario was in shambles and time has come for the government to prove its mettle.
The court took cognizance of an inquiry report submitted by Jamshedpur judicial commissioner and issued notices to a slew of top officials seeking detailed reply on the steps being taken to curb child deaths and prevailing conditions in the state’s three premiere hospitals--Rajnedra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College and Hospital (MGMMCH), Jamshedpur and Patliputra Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), Dhanbad.
A division bench of justice Aparesh Kumar Singh and justice BB Mangalmurti issued notices to chief secretary, health secretary, finance secretary, director-in-chief (health), director- national rural health mission (NRHM) and directors of aforesaid three hospitals seeking their replies by September 18, the next date of hearing.
Initiating a PIL in the matter, the bench summoned advocate general Ajit Kumar, the government’s top law officer, to express its concern over the issue.
Venting its ire, the bench observed, “It’s a serious issue. The health scenario in the state is in shambles and the condition is worse in rural belts. In many places, the primary health centres (PHC) do not open for day’s work. There is acute dearth of doctors, nurses and other medical staff at these centres.”
“The government is duty bound in a welfare state to provide adequate health facilities to its citizens. It is high time for the government to prove its mettle to curb infant deaths,” the bench observed, adding, “The success of NRHM is doubtful if infants are dying of malnutrition.”
Referring the suggestions of NITI Aayog, which pushes for public-private partnership (PPP) model in healthcare, the bench wanted to know the state government’s plan in this regard.
The issue hogged the limelight after media reported that 64 children- up to 12 years of age- had died during treatment at MGMMCH in July. Further investigation conducted by different NGOs and political parties revealed that 164 children had died in the hospital in last four months.
Reports were also published with regard to RIMS, Ranchi, revealing that 660 children up to the age of 14 years had died since January this year.
Jamshedpur judicial commissioner Manoj Prasad, who had inspected MGMMCH on August 29, submitted an inquiry report to the high court highlighting the hospital’s poor condition. The report said that 83 infants had been admitted in hospital’s neonatal ward during May this year out of which 23 died. In the paediatrics ward, 16 children had been admitted during the same period out of which seven died. More or less similar situation prevailed in the months of June, July and August, the report said.
He also mentioned that he had inspected all wards of the hospital and found huge paucity of human resources including doctors and nurses, infrastructure and medical equipments. Besides, medical norms were not followed properly in the hospital, the judicial commissioner mentioned.