Officials at Kashmir’s G B Pant children’s hospital, say that the number of neonatal deaths has registered a steep decline though it is still higher than the national average. Last year 5093 neonates got admitted in the hospital out of which 267 deaths were reported. It is the only children’s hospital in the Valley.
As per the official figures the number of newborn deaths in the hospital has come down from 110 deaths per thousand in 2012 to 49 in 2015-16. The national average is 30 per thousand. The hospital came in news when in first five months in 2012, more than 500 infants died in the hospital. Medical Superintendent, Dr Shafqat Khan, says the success in bringing down the rate of neonatal deaths goes to overcoming infrastructural problems and proper treatment of the hospital acquired infections. “These were two major reasons for the neonatal deaths.”
He said the hospital in the recent months has acquired 10 more ventilators taking the overall number to 21. “We also procured 11 continuous positive airway pressure ventilators (CPAP’s), six high flow oxygen concentrators, a CT scan machine and various other important equipments,’’ he said, adding that due to high death rates in the hospital people had started losing faith in the institute.
Even the parents of the children say that difference is being noticed in the hospital. “Now all the tests are being done here this is a good thing but still hospital is far behind that the hospitals in the other states,” says Shakeela Akther of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Most of the deaths in the hospital have been attributed to infections (Septicemia). In 2012 hundreds of anguished parents came out on the roads to protest over the alarming death rate of newborn babies at the hospital, following which the government formed an inquiry committee. The inquiry report said more than 500 babies had died at the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) from January to May 2012.
The Hospital, apart from addressing different health-related issues of children, essentially specializes in handling complex respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in premature newborn babies. It has two specialized intensive care units—NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit) where critical patients are admitted.