Updated: January 3, 2020 4:04:22 pm
A carpet was laid out to welcome Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma at the JK Lon Hospital in Kota on Friday where at least 100 infants have died in December alone. The carpet was later removed upon media presence, news agency ANI reported.
At least 100 children have died at the hospital in December — 10 of them within 48 hours between December 23 and 24, prompting the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government to form a committee. The government, however, had cleared the hospital of any lapses last month.
However, when The Indian Express visited the hospital Thursday, families of patients pointed to the dismal facilities and complained that their calls for help were not being heard. JK Lon is the biggest government hospital for children in Kota. It receives 200-300 patients in the OPD apart from 30-40 admissions every day in its Paediatrics Department.
A central team of experts visited the facility Friday to take stock of the situation. The team will later submit a detailed report. “I have spoken to Shri Ashok Gehlot ji, Chief Minister of Rajasthan and assured him of all possible support to prevent further deaths in the Kota tragedy matter. A multi-disciplinary team of experts including top paediatricians is being sent by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to support the State government for gap analysis & quick measures to be taken,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said.
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The team will carry out a joint gap analysis along with the state government in terms of clinical protocols, service delivery, manpower availability and equipment for maternal, newborn and paediatric care services at the Government Medical College in Kota and will develop a joint action plan based on the results for providing required technical and financial support to the facility through the National Health Mission and the State Medical Education Department.
The Rajasthan government is facing flak over the deaths at the state-run hospital. Calls for sacking of the chief minister have also intensified, with BSP supremo Mayawati demanding that Gehlot be dismissed and replaced by a new dispensation otherwise “more women will lose their children”.
In the wake of the deaths, a BJP parliamentary team, comprising of MPs Locket Chatterjee, Kanta Kardam and Jaskaur Meena, had visited the hospital last month and expressed concern over its infrastructure. The panel said two to three children were found on single beds and the hospital did not have enough nurses.
Earlier, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had served a show-cause notice to the Congress government in the state. “Pigs were found roaming inside the campus of the hospital,” its chairperson Priyank Kanoongo had said. A Rajasthan government committee ruled that the infants were given the right treatment.
“The government is sensitive to the death of sick infants in JK Lon Hospital in Kota. There should no politics over the issue. Infant mortality at this hospital is steadily decreasing. We will try to reduce it further. It is our top priority that mothers and children remain in good health,” Gehlot had said. “We also established an ICU for children in Kota in 2011,” he added.
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