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North Bengal viral outbreak: Boost paediatric infrastructure, state govt tells public hospitals

A team of five doctors visited Jalpaiguri on Friday to take stock of the situation as almost 760 children are in treatment in north Bengal for various viral diseases.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
September 18, 2021 4:48:34 am
The team met the North Bengal health administration, and visited the paediatric wards of government hospitals in Jalpaiguri and Siliguri. (Representational)

Amid an outbreak of viral diseases among children in north Bengal, the West Bengal health department has directed all medical colleges and hospitals in the state to ramp up their paediatric infrastructure. The government on Friday said 835 more intensive care units (ICUs) for children would be set up in government hospitals while an additional 90 ICUs for newborns will also be built. The administration has also identified two more public hospitals — Bankura Medical College and Malda Medical College — that will be earmarked for the treatment of Covid paediatric cases.

A team of five doctors visited Jalpaiguri on Friday to take stock of the situation as almost 760 children are in treatment in north Bengal for various viral diseases.

“The situation is very much in control and infrastructure is also being upgraded to tackle the situation if it gets worse. Maximum cases are suspected to be of RS virus [Respiratory Syncytial Virus], which is also common during season change but this time it’s a little early,” said a senior health official.

The team met the North Bengal health administration, and visited the paediatric wards of government hospitals in Jalpaiguri and Siliguri. The team has been instructed to submit a detailed report to Swasthya Bhawan, the headquarters of the state health department.

In Malda Medical College and Hospital, three newborns admitted with fever, shortness of breath, and dry cough have died — two on Wednesday night, and one on Thursday. They are among five children to have died in the medical facility in the last three days.

The hospital administration said the children had been brought to the facility in a critical condition that did not provide the doctors with an opportunity to treat them. At present, 186 children are being treated at the hospital for cold, cough and shortness of breath. None of them were Covid-positive, said sources. The hospital has formed a committee of paediatricians while the health department is also monitoring the situation.

Health department officials said swab test reports — by the School of Tropical Medicine in Kolkata — of 10 children admitted in Jalpaiguri and Siliguri had revealed that three of the children were suffering from RS Virus while three more were found to be carrying the Influenza B virus. The swabs of two children could not be tested because of their low quality.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar expressed concern about the rising viral cases among children. He said, “The situation should have been monitored from the beginning. I hope the state’s healthcare system will be further strengthened and more emphasis will be given to the health sector.”

In response, state Transport Minister Firhad Hakim said, “I will advise him to check the healthcare systems of BJP-ruled states.

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