At least nine more infants have died in the last two days of December at the JK Lon Hospital in Kota, taking the death toll to 100 this month, PTI reported on Wednesday. According to the hospital superintendent, the children died mainly due to low birth weight.
This comes a day after a Rajasthan government committee cleared the hospital of any lapses after the recent deaths of 10 infants in 48 hours. The death of 10 children at the government-run hospital during a 48-hour period on December 23-24 had triggered opposition criticism.
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.
On Tuesday, a BJP parliamentary team comprising of MPs Locket Chatterjee, Kanta Kardam and Jaskaur Meena visited the hospital 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.
Expressing concern over the recent death of infants at J K Lon Hospital, Union Health Minister Harshwardhan on Tuesday wrote a letter to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. “The available information from Special Newborn Care Units online software established under the National Health Mission, and the relief from the state has been reviewed and it showed higher mortality rate of 20.2% in J K Lon Hospital, Kota during 2019 in comparison to the preceding two years (year 2018=14.3%; year 2017 = 4.3%). Besides that, it has also been noted that in J K Lon Hospital, 70% of the radiant warmers are not functional and bed nurse ratio is 13:1 against the standard of 4:1.”
He also flagged equipment problems in the state government hospital. “It is learnt that out of 533 equipment, 320 are not functional for want or annual maintenance contract (AMC) and there is an absence of oxygen pipeline in the special newborn care unit. Also, this hospital has bed occupancy of 180% and mortality in SNCU in the month of November has been reported to be 23.4% against 14-18% mortality reported in previous months,” the minister wrote.
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