Malda crib deaths: Over 30 fatalities in a week, Mamata government clueless

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Children being treated at Medical College and Hospital in Malda, West Bengal. (PTI photo)
With so many infants dying in the Malda Medical College and Hospital in West Bengal, it seems that the hospital is becoming infamous for the frequent crib deaths. The death of seven children, all below the age of one within the last 24 hours, at Malda Medical College and Hospital has created a furore in the state.

This hospital in Malda, which provides healthcare services to the province and other nearby areas, had witnessed death of 23 infants in the past and recently saw a surge in the deaths of infants. When the death of infants is credited to this hospital, it never comes as a shock to anyone as the hospital has been consistent enough in keeping this bad record alive every year.

In 2013, Infant Mortality Rate in Bengal stood at 32

As per reports, the clear reasons for the deaths are still not known but as per an official the infants who died were underweight and most of them were brought to the Malda Medical College and Hospital in critical condition. The official says all the kids suffered from malnutrition and were underweight.

Where on one hand the hospital authorities claimed that the children died due to malnutrition, the parents said that it happened because of neglect by doctors and nurses.

It's not the first time when infants are dying due to malnutrition in West Bengal.

Even in 2011, the horror of infants' deaths haunted the state government-run Medical College and Hospital with about 30 infants dying in a week.
But the Trinamool government seems to be in a state of denial whenever they are questioned about these rising deaths of infants due to malnutrition.

In fact the Government had earlier patted itself on the back for a fall in the infant mortality rates.

As per a UNICEF report released on Infant Mortality Rate in September 2013, the performance of West Bengal stood at 32.


What is the Government doing?

When Mamata Banerjee took over the reins of the state, she promised for a ‘poriborton' (change) in healthcare system of the State and had promised to revamp primary health centres, district hospitals, etc. But even after so many years the grim situation stands at the same point.

Revamping primary healthcare and secondary healthcare units is needed or else the crib deaths will continue. Not only this, even an urgent need to improve infrastructure at sub-divisional and district level hospitals is needed.

And most importantly there's a need to spread more awareness amongst people about the importance of nourishing food. They also need to know that regular prenatal visits during pregnancy to are a must and it will also help in bringing down the neonatal mortality rate.

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