New Delhi: There have been a total of 199 reported infant deaths in two government hospitals in Rajkot and Ahmedabad in December alone. The number of infant deaths constituted almost 25% of the total number of admissions in that month, according to a report in the Times of India.
Of the total number of infant deaths in December 2019, Rajkot Civil Hospital accounted for 111 of them, which constituted 28% of the total admissions in December. As per data released by the state health department, Rajkot and Ahmedabad civil hospitals recorded 269 and 253 child deaths respectively between October and December 2019.
Of the 388 admissions to the newborn ICU in December at the Rajkot Civil Hospital, 160 cases were referred from other health care facilities. The Ahmedabad Civil Hospital admitted 415 children in December of which 243 had been referred from other health facilities.
According to a report in The Hindu, the Rajkot civil hospital recorded as many as 1,235 infants deaths in 2019.
The deputy chief minister of Gujarat and health minister Nitin Patel said that the high infant mortality rate was unfortunate ‘but within limit’. Patel also claimed that the spike in the number of deaths was attributable to the fact that patients from outside the state were being treated at state-run hospitals.
After the state’s Congress president Amit Chavda claimed that the number of deaths could run into thousands if hospitals across Gujarat are considered, Patel accused the grand olf party of attempting to deflect attention away from the recent infant deaths at the J.K. Lon hospital in Kota in Congress-ruled Rajasthan.
“I would like to ask the Congress governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh why patients from these neighbouring states come to Gujarat hospitals for treatment if they have good health care systems in place?” Patel said.
While Patel admitted that the deaths were on the higher side, he termed it a “cyclical phenomenon” and claimed that the state government had managed to reduce the infant mortality rate to below 25 from 30 in three years.
Patel also attributed the high number of infant deaths to factors such as underweight children, unhealthy mothers, improper pregnancy practices and lack of awareness about the health of the mother and the child.
Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, however, did not comment on the issue and walked away when he was asked about the reports of the deaths of over 100 infants in Rajkot and Ahmedabad hospitals.
— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2020