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62 infants dead in 90 days in Srinagar's only paediatric hospital


Mufti Islah,CNN-IBN
May 16, 2012 at 10:55am IST

Srinagar: Over 62 newborns have died in the past three months at Srinagar's only paediatric hospital GB Pant. The hospital is facing an acute shortage of trained staff and medical equipment.

The sole paediatric hospital in Srinagar has literally become a death trap. In the past six weeks alone, 30 infants have died due to doctors' negligence and inadequate health equipment to tackle the crisis.

The doctors say they are unable to cope with the huge overload because of a shortage of trained staff and machines. In the ICU, as against a required 20 to 30 ventilators, there are only five.

Two days back, a devastated Mohammad Amin took back the body of his two-day-old nephew. The newborn had died from complications after the hospital could not spare a ventilator for him.

Attendant Amin said, "We took him to the hospital, but they told us that there was no ventilator available. There weren't adequate machines. I request the government to intervene and save the babies."

For grieving relatives, coming to terms with the loss has not been easy. Infuriated by the lack of infrastructure and support that resulted in so many deaths, many assaulted the head of the institute. The doctors themselves now want a better infrastructure at the hospital.

The Medical Superintendent of the GB Pant hospital, Dr Javeed Chowdhary, said, "We would be happy if more trained staff and equipment is provided."

Srinagar's only paediatric hospital runs on an annual budget of Rs 13 crore, of which Rs 9 crore alone is spent on the staff salaries. With the remaining Rs 4 crore being spent on drugs and equipment, patient-care has invariably become a casualty. But the death of 62 infants in the past 90 days is a grim reminder to the Omar Abdullah government and the Union Health Ministry of the unhealthy state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir.

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