State BJP leaders and former health ministers Rajendra Singh Rathore and Kalicharan Saraf visited the hospital on Monday and interacted with the staff.
Fourteen more infants have died at the J K Lone hospital here in the last five days, taking the number of deaths to 91 this month at the facility, officials said on Monday. “The 14 infants, including six newborns, died in the period between December 25 and December 29 in NICU and PICU units of the hospital,” the newly appointed superintendent of the hospital, Suresh Dulara, said.
Earlier, 77 infants had died till December 24 including 10 within 48 hours on December 23-24, he said.
On the cause of deaths, Amrit Lal Bairwa, Head of Department of Pediatrics, said that they are analysing the reasons behind the 77 deaths till December 25.
Out of the 14 infants who died later, four succumbed to severe pneumonia, one to Meningoencephalitis, four to Congenital pneumonia, three to pneumatic septicemia, and one to respiratory disorder, he said. Rajasthan Medical Education Secretary Vaibhav Galariya said a three-member team comprising Dr Amarjeet Mehta, Dr Rambabu Sharma and Dr Sunil Bhatnagar that is probing the infant deaths will submit its report in two days following which action will be taken.
The BJP, which has targeted the Congress government in Rajasthan over the child deaths, said it has formed a committee comprising four MPs to look into the matter. The panel comprising Lok Sabha MPs Jaskaur Meena, Locket Chatterjee and Bharati Pawar, and Rajya Sabha MP Kanta Kardam has been asked to submit its report within three days to the party’s working president J P Nadda.
Meanwhile, state BJP leaders and former health ministers Rajendra Singh Rathore and Kalicharan Saraf visited the hospital on Monday and interacted with the staff. The two said they will send a report to the central government detailing the reasons behind the child deaths and recommendations to check such incidents in future and improve facilities at the hospital.
They slammed the Ashok Gehlot government for trying to defend itself with the argument that the number of such deaths was less now then under the BJP rule. “Such deaths should not have occurred. Do they want to compete on the number of deaths… if they want to do so, there cannot be anything more unfortunate than this,” Rathore told reporters. He also demanded that state health minister Raghu Sharma visit Kota within next 24 hours to take stock of the situation here.
Saraf claimed that when the BJP government came to power in 2013, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 47 which was brought down to 38, and mother mortality rate (MMR) from 244 to 186. Congress workers staged a protest outside the hospital over the visit by BJP leaders and alleged that they were politicising the issue.
Rathore dismissed the allegation and said that they have come with a positive approach and will recommend steps to ensure that such deaths do not recur. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, who is MP from Kota, had on Sunday expressed concern over the death of infants and urged the state government to act with sensitivity. He had visited the hospital to take stock of the situation and directed the officials to make adequate arrangement to ensure such incidents do not occur in future.
Meanwhile, social workers objected to visits by political leaders to the hospital, which is the largest government hospital in Kota-Bundi parliamentary constituency. “The visits of the leaders have further worsened the situation as the doctors and medical staff attending to the patients get distracted,” said Anwar Ahmad who heads an NGO. According to official data, the hospital has witnessed a decline in such deaths in last six years. In 2014, 15,719 patients were admitted, out of which 1,198 died. In 2019, 16,892 patients were admitted out of which 940 died.
Officials said Secretary Galariya has directed the hospital administration to complete the tender process for getting necessary equipment at the earliest, besides laying oxygen pipeline for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), availing services of nursing staff on contractual basis and increasing sampling process frequency.