Sixty-one infants die at Indian hospital in just two weeks

Published: September 2, 2015
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The deaths highlight the challenges faced in India's underfunded public health system, where successive governments have failed to address the acute shortage of staff and clinics. STOCK IMAGE

The deaths highlight the challenges faced in India's underfunded public health system, where successive governments have failed to address the acute shortage of staff and clinics. STOCK IMAGE

CUTTACK, INDIA: Sixty-one infants have died at an Indian children’s hospital in just two weeks, sparking protests and forcing the state government to launch an investigation.

The deaths highlight the challenges faced in India’s underfunded public health system, where successive governments have failed to address the acute shortage of staff and clinics.

Those problems are compounded by the stark poverty and poor sanitary conditions in many villages. Cases of shoddy medical treatment are also regularly reported throughout the country.

Read: Protests hit central India as sterilisation death toll rises

A criminal probe was under way into the conduct of three staff at the Shishu Bhawan, or Children’s Home, in the city of Cuttack in eastern Odisha, state health minister Atanu S Nayak said on Wednesday. Five workers have been suspended.

Opposition parties, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), staged protests outside several government hospitals across Odisha, waving flags and shouting slogans against state government officials.

“Infants have died but the chief minister has yet to visit the hospital,” said Samir Mohanty, one of the BJP protesters.

Read: Newborn dies after rat bites in Indian hospital: mother

“A preliminary inquiry found (the staff) had neglected their duty that contributed to the deaths,” state’s health minister Nayak said, without elaborating on the causes of death.

Doctors at the hospital blamed the deaths on overstretched facilities, not negligence.

Niranjan Mohanty, a senior official at the hospital, said it was overburdened, admitting up to 50 critically ill children and treating up to 500 outpatients daily.

Last year, at least 13 women died after being sterilized in central India. In 2013, more than one million children died before the age of five and 50,000 maternal deaths were recorded.

India is the world’s second most populous country after China.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Pakistani
    Sep 2, 2015 - 9:22PM

    This is really just another day in a corrupt and impoverished country called India.Recommend

  • Pukar
    Sep 3, 2015 - 12:07AM

    Welcome to corporate India.Recommend

  • N.S
    Sep 3, 2015 - 3:31AM

    @Pakistani:
    No Indian think India is a super power…reality is India is super poor.Recommend

  • Abc
    Sep 3, 2015 - 4:06AM

    Still you want Rafal jets from France ?take care baby’s issuesRecommend

  • Abc
    Sep 3, 2015 - 4:07AM

    Still you want Rafal jets from France ?take care baby’s issuesRecommend

  • Abc
    Sep 3, 2015 - 4:07AM

    Still you want Rafal jets from France ?take care baby’s issuesRecommend

  • Azi
    Sep 3, 2015 - 4:11AM

    Only if they could instead use the money spent on rafaels to try to scare us on their own children, they could have been saved. But death and the wish death on others is much more prefered in them. What good are these things when you are never going to actually use it outside training.Recommend

  • Rahul
    Sep 3, 2015 - 7:25AM

    It’s a tragedy and I’m very ashamed as an Indian. India should spend much more on public health. 61 children is not all acceptable in this day and age when proper care could have saved most or all of these kids. We have a long way to go, but you Pakistanis make me cringe with your comments. Do us a favor and tell Pakistani patients to not visit poor, corrupt and improvised India. They can get world class treatment in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or all weather friend ‘China’. The money and resources saved can be spend on these poor Indians. Recommend

  • Billybar
    Sep 4, 2015 - 12:04AM

    @Rahul:
    as if comments from you fellows from your country makes us super happy. Dear, taste your own medicine now.Recommend

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