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Apr 20, 2012 at 09:52pm IST

Assam: 44 children die in 2 months at government hospital

Karimganj: 44 children have died in a civil hospital in Karimganj in Assam over two months. But not one bit has changed in the hospital even now. CNN-IBN travelled to the hospital where the sick children mostly survive on prayers.

Children are clinging to their lives most often losing the battle. The children's ward at Karimganj Civil hospital in Southern Assam has had 44 infant deaths over December and January mostly due to treatable diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea.

Even after 40 deaths, infrastructure in the hospital remains at its disgraceful best. Babies are being treated in the hospital corridor as there is no space inside.

A one-day-old baby gave up her battle for life because an incubator that could have saved her was just not there.

Child Specialist, Karimganj Civil Hospital Dr Abul Hassan said, "Leave aside treatment. Children with all kinds diseases have to kept in this one ward."

If one is lucky and has some money, then half-broken nylon beds are offered at Rs 20 a day. The hospital has just two child specialists and is supposed to serve the entire district. One specialist is mostly away on training and there is just one nurse.

Nurse, Karimganj Civil Hospital Namita Das said, "Of course I feel helpless. There is not even basic first aid facility present in the ward. Sometimes no medicine or saline."

Most patients are referral cases from remote villages unaware that the National Rural Health Mission entitles them to better treatment.

Given such dismal conditions it isn't surprising that Assam's infant mortality rate is 64, while the national average is 53.

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