Horror of infant deaths in West BengalFeb 3, 2012 | Pratirodh Bureau
Infant deaths have returned to haunt the chief minister Mamata Banerjee with 19 babies dying in two districts of the state in last two days.
Ten babies passed away at the Bankura Sammilani Medical College while nine died at the Malda Medical College and Hospital due to alleged medical negligence.
However, the doctors at both the medical colleges maintain that the babies died due to meningitis, pneumonia, septicemia and low birth weight.
With nine more deaths , the toll in the Malda medical college has shot up to 125 in the last 16 days.
Despite the huge death toll, vice-principal of the Malda hospital Dr MA Rashid said that there has been no negligence on part of his hospital staff and the deaths occurred as most of the newborns had come from rural hospitals with various medical problems.
Ironically, chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the health portfolio, has dubbed the recent hue and cry over the infant deaths in the state as mere drama.
She has also blamed a section of media for spreading the rumours that the babies have died due to medical negligence.
She attributed the deaths to under-nourishment, malnutrition and birth at home.
Politicising the sensitive issue, Mamata quickly highlighted that 40000 babies had died in the state during the Left Front rule.
"Since last May when the new government took over, the child mortality rate in the state dropped from 31% to 30%," Banerjee said.
Earlier Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari had also downplayed the issue maintaining that public health system needs to be improved across the country and not only in the eastern state.
It is terribly sad that state government is in a mode of denial and is busy squabbling over statistics even when its clearly visible that the number of infants deaths are on a drastic rise.